The world’s southernmost ocean, the southern ocean surrounding Antarctica, plays an important role in the global climate because its waters contain large amounts of carbon dioxide. A new international study involving researchers at the University of Gothenburg has looked at the complex processes that control air-sea gas flows, such as carbon dioxide.
Storms bring carbonated waters to the surface
The research team is now providing new findings that shed light on the region’s important role in climate change.
“We show how the frequent storms that often occur in the area increase the mixing of the oceans and bring carbonated waters from the depths to the surface. This causes the release of carbon dioxide from the ocean into the atmosphere. There has been a lack of these complex processes, so research is an important key to understanding the importance of the South Ocean for the climate and the global carbon budget, ”says Sebastian SwartProfessor of Ocean Science at the University of Gothenburg and co – author of the study.
Facilitates better climate models
Half of all the carbon sequestered in the world’s oceans is found in the southern ocean. At the same time, climate change is expected to lead to more severe storms in the future. Therefore, it is important to understand the impact of storms on the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the researchers point out.
“This information is needed to make more accurate predictions about future climate change. At present, these environmental processes have not been incorporated into global climate models,” says Marcel du Plessis At the University of Gothenburg, which also participated in the study.
Pioneering ocean robotics
The long-term measurement of hard-to-reach and stormy waters around Antarctica is a real challenge that scientists coped with using unique robotics. For several months, autonomous ocean robots; drones and ocean sailplanes, collected data from the surface and through to a depth of a kilometer.
“This groundbreaking technology allowed us to gather information over a long period of time, which would not have been possible through the research vessel. Thanks to these ocean robots, we can now fill important data gaps and gain a better understanding of the importance of the ocean to the climate, Sebastiaan Swart says.
Title: “Storms cause release of carbon dioxide in the South Pole Ocean” The article is published in Nature Communications
Source: University of Gothenburg
Source: The Nordic Page