One of the key challenges we face in Ocean Carbon cycle research is quantifying the behavior of the Ocean carbon sink. This sink absorbs approximately 25% of the CO2 we emit to the atmosphere, slowing the rate of climate change. Its future evolution is therefore a matter of some concern, and a system is needed to monitor its behavior and report it to key decision-making fora. This system exists via a series of linked activities including measurements at sea, data synthesis and reporting—known as the Ocean carbon value chain. In addition, we have numerical models that can, in parallel, assess the strength of the sink. Over recent years a worrying discrepancy has emerged between these estimates and a key aim of OceanICU is to investigate the reasons for this. Now in a recent paper OceanICU investigator Judith Hauck of the The Helmholtz Association and Are Olsen of the University of Bergen, along with their colleagues, have addressed this topic in the paper: Sparse observations induce large biases in estimates of the global ocean CO2 sink: an ocean model subsampling experiment. Their research concluded that the way we sample the Ocean has a profound impact and that a larger density in the Southern Ocean might make a crucial difference going forward.
For a good summer read, check out the paper and learn more.
OceanICU congratulates Judith, Are and their colleagues on the achievement of this important study and paper.