Since 2002, the Southern Ocean has been removing more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, according to two new studies. These studies, out today in the journals Geophysical Research Letters (GRL)and Science, make use of millions of ship-based observations and a variety of data analysis techniques to conclude that the Southern Ocean has increasingly taken up more CO2 during the last 13 years. That follows a decade from the early 1990s to 2000s, where evidence suggested the Southern Ocean CO2 sink was weakening.
New collaborative research between NOAA, University of Alaska and an Alaskan shellfish hatchery shows that ocean acidification may make it difficult for Alaskan coastal waters to support shellfish hatcheries by 2040 unless costly mitigation efforts are installed to modify seawater used in the hatcheries.
We caught up with Dwight Gledhill, deputy director of NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program, and one of the 17 authors of a perspective published today in Nature Climate Change on vulnerability of U.S. shellfisheries to ocean acidification.
A global report released this week on changing carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land environment draws heavily from data and observations by NOAA research scientists and their partners. For the first time, the annual assessment by the Global Carbon Project uses data obtained from autonomous instruments installed by NOAA scientists on its ships and other ships of opportunity and moorings to determine the variability of carbon dioxide in the surface ocean.
The Southern Ocean that encircles Antarctica lends a considerable hand in keeping Earth's temperature hospitable by soaking up half of the human-made carbon in the atmosphere and a majority of the planet's excess heat. Yet, the inner workings — and global importance — of this ocean that accounts for 30 percent of the world's ocean area remains relatively unknown to scientists, as observations remain hindered by dangerous seas.