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Temporal variability of the carbon system across the Atlantic Ocean; causes and implications

Project Description

Approximately 25% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by fossil fuel combustion enters the ocean. Without this sink, the rate of CO2 buildup in the atmosphere would be larger than it is. However, there is large seasonal and inter-annual variability in ocean CO2 uptake.
Understanding what drives this CO2 sink, and the associated ocean acidification, and whether it will continue to operate at its current rate are key research issues. A decrease in the fraction of CO2 emissions that can be taken up by the ocean has been predicted by climate models but needs to be confirmed (and models refined where discrepancies occur) by high quality measurements.
It is essential that we determine the spatial and temporal variations in CO2 exchange and the relative contributions of biological and physical processes. Analysing time series data represents an important way of understanding the mechanisms driving planetary carbon cycling and offers the possibility to develop a three dimensional picture of how ocean circulation, biological productivity, atmospheric forcing and plankton ecology combine together to regulate atmospheric CO2 uptake.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibility and how to apply.


Vlad A. Macovei, Susan E. Hartman, Ute Schuster, Sinhue Torres-Valdes, C. Mark Moore, Richard J. Sanders. 2019. Impact of physical and biological processes on temporal variations of the ocean carbon sink in the mid-latitude North Atlantic (2002-2016) (2019 PiO)
Hartman, S.E., Humphreys, M.P.Kivimäe, C., Woodward, E. M. S, Kitidis, V., McGrath, T., Hydes, D.J., Greenwood,N., Hull, T. 5, Ostle, C.6, Pearce, D.J.Sivyer, D., Stewart, B.M. Walsham, P.Painter, S.C., McGovern, E., Harris,C., Griffiths,A., Smilenova, A., Clarke, J., Davis, C.Nightingale, P., 2018. Seasonality and spatial heterogeneity of the surface ocean carbonate system in the northwest European continental shelf, PiO, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2018.02.005
Watson, A.J., Schuster, U., Bakker, D.C., Bates, N.R., Corbière, A., González-Dávila, M., Friedrich, T., Hauck, J., Heinze, C., Johannessen, T. and Körtzinger, A., 2009. Tracking the variable North Atlantic sink for atmospheric CO2.Science,326 (5958), pp.1391-1393.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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