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Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Reports

Formal report series, containing results of research and monitoring carried out by Marine Scotland Science


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Re-Evaluating Scotland’s Sedimentary Carbon Stocks

Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 11 No 2
This report sets out to provide an improved estimate of the carbon (C) held within Scotland’s marine sedimentary environments across Scotland’s mapped extended Exclusive Economic Zone (i.e. 554,755 km2). Marine sediments accumulating on the ocean floor hold large quantities of carbon (C); these environments can also act to trap and store C over long periods of time (> 103 yrs). The surficial sediments (top 10 cm) of the mapped extended Scottish EEZ holds an estimated 1,515 ± 252 Mt C. The majority of this C is in the form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), with an estimated 1,294 ± 161 Mt IC being held within the surficial sediments. A significantly lower quantity of C in these surface sediments is stored in the organic form, with an estimated 221 ± 92 Mt OC currently held within the top 10 cm of sediment within Scotland’s mapped extended EEZ.

Smeaton, C., Austin, W. and Turrell, W.R. 2020. Re-Evaluating Scotland’s Sedimentary Carbon Stocks. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 11 No 2, 16pp.
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UK Open Government Licence (OGL)
Marine Scotland
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Using a standardised framework, first-order estimates of Scotland’s surficial (top 10 cm) marine sedimentary C stock were undertaken using open-access data sources. Currently, reliable estimates of the rates at which C is being trapped and buried cannot be made for Scottish waters because of the lack of data available to constrain these burial rate estimates across large areas of the shelf. However, the adoption of a standardised framework to establish the best current estimates of marine sedimentary C stocks does allow for these estimates to be updated as more burial rate data become available.

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Marine Scotland
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