Ocean canyon off Irish coast ‘is sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere’

Rob Waugh
The canyon is ‘sucking’ CO2 out of the atmosphere (University College Cork)

An undersea canyon the depth of ten Eiffel towers off the coast of Ireland was mapped with submarines this year – and is transporting CO2 into the deep ocean.

Scientists mapped an undersea area twice the size of Malta in an effort to understand the canyon which sits on the edge of Ireland’s continental shelf.

The canyon ‘pumps’ CO2 absorbed at the ocean’s surface into the deep ocean – where it can’t resurface.

The canyon is ‘sucking’ CO2 out of the atmosphere (University College Cork)

Around the canyon’s rim, cold-water corals live – which eat dead plankton, rich in carbon extracted from CO2 in the air.


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As the coral die, the cliff faces shift – sending their bodies (and the carbon inside them) deep into the ocean.

Dr Aaron Lim said, ‘This is a vast submarine canyon system, with near-vertical 700m cliff in places and going as deep as 3000m. You could stack 10 Eiffel towers on top of each other in there.

‘So far from land this canyon is a natural laboratory from which we feel the pulse of the changing Atlantic.’