Navigation Links
Southern Ocean's role in climate regulation, ocean health is goal of $21 million project
Date:9/9/2014

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 dangerous seas hinder observations.

Princeton University and 10 partner institutions seek to make the Southern Ocean better known scientifically and publicly through a $21 million program that will create a biogeochemical and physical portrait of the ocean using an expanded computational capacity and hundreds of robotic floats deployed around Antarctica. The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling program, or SOCCOM, is a six-year initiative headquartered at Princeton and funded by the National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Programs, with additional support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA.

"SOCCOM will enable top scientists from institutions around the country to work together on Southern Ocean research in ways that would not otherwise be possible," said SOCCOM Director Jorge Sarmiento, Princeton's George J. Magee Professor of Geoscience and Geological Engineering and director of the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

"The scarcity of observations in the Southern Ocean and inadequacy of earlier models, combined with its importance to the Earth's carbon and climate systems, means there is tremendous potential for groundbreaking research in this region," Sarmiento said.

Central to the program are roughly 200 floats outfitted with biogeochemical sensors that will provide almost continuous information related to the ocean's carbon, nutrient (nitrate, in particular) and oxygen content, both at and deep beneath the surface. The floats are augmented biogeochemical versions of the nearly 4,000 Argo floats deployed worldwide to measure ocean salinity and temperature. SOCCOM marks the first large-scale deployment of these biogeochemical floats. This video describes how the floats will operate.

"These floats are revolutionary and this major new observational initiative will give us unprecedented year-round coverage of biogeochemistry in the Southern Ocean," Sarmiento said.

The floats will increase the monthly data coming out of the Southern Ocean by 10 to 30 times, Sarmiento said. That data will be used to improve recently developed high-resolution earth-system models, which will allow for a better understanding of the Southern Ocean and for better projections of Earth's climate and biogeochemical trajectory. In keeping with SOCCOM's knowledge sharing or "broader-impacts" component, all information collected will be freely available to the public, researchers and industry.

SOCCOM will provide direct observations to understand further the importance of the Southern Ocean as suggested by models and ocean studies. Aside from carbon and heat uptake, models have indicated that the Southern Ocean delivers nutrients to lower-latitude surface waters that are critical to ocean ecosystems around the world. In addition, the impacts of ocean acidification as levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increase are projected to be most severe in the Southern Ocean.

Other than administering the project, Sarmiento and other Princeton researchers will co-lead the modeling and broader-impacts components, as well as coordinated data management. Researchers from NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory housed on Princeton's Forrestal Campus will carry out high-resolution earth-system simulations in support of the modeling effort, which is led by the University of Arizona and includes collaborators from the University of Miami.

The floats will be constructed at the University of Washington with sensors from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; NOAA's Climate Program Office will provide half of the basic Argo floats. Float deployment, observation analysis and data assimilation will be led by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego. Climate Central, a nonprofit science and journalism organization based in Princeton, will oversee the broader-impacts component. Researchers from Oregon State University and NOAA will develop the floats' carbon algorithms.

In addition, NASA will support a complementary project involving researchers at the University of Maine and Rutgers University that will equip the floats with bio-optical sensors intended to gather data about biological processes in the water column.


'/>"/>

Contact: Morgan Kelly
mgnkelly@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
www.twitter.com/Princeton
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Bark beetle management and ecology in southern pine forests
2. Beetle-fungus disease threatens crops and landscape trees in Southern California
3. Latest Southern Ocean research shows continuing deep ocean change
4. First paternity study of southern right whales finds local fathers most successful
5. Are brown widows displacing black widow spiders around southern California homes?
6. New discovery of how carbon is stored in the Southern Ocean
7. WaterSMART funds $1.7 million for science projects in desert and southern Rockies LCCs
8. Warming causes more extreme shifts of the Southern Hemispheres largest rain band
9. Southern elephant seals likely detect prey bioluminescence for foraging
10. NC State leads national effort to evaluate fresh water sustainability in the southern US
11. Sorghum eyed as a southern bioenergy crop
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Southern Ocean's role in climate regulation, ocean health is goal of $21 million project
(Date:5/22/2019)... HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... May 22, ... ... manufacturer of custom built, helium-based leak testing instruments for the Pharmaceutical, ... formal partnership agreement with Industrial Production Processes (IPP) Ltd ...
(Date:5/21/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Zer0 to 5ive, an award-winning strategic communications ... launched a new startup package, 0to5 Launch, to provide seed-stage and early-stage tech ... attract talent and investors. , “We launched our Zer0 to 5ive Roadmap™ 20 ...
(Date:5/21/2019)... ... ... At their May 16 meeting, the members of the F04.43 Subcommittee on Cells ... Society for Testing and Materials International voted unanimously to approve an interlaboratory study ... the company’s plan to establish its AlphaSTEM Test™ stem cell counting technology ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/14/2019)... ... , ... Gateway Genomics , a leading developer of prenatal and pediatric ... square feet. , “This past year has seen exponential growth for the sales ... Jacob. “The SneakPeek At-Home test, which is mailed directly to our customers who self-collect ...
(Date:5/4/2019)... ... May 03, 2019 , ... ... the Diopsys® ffERG/Photopic Negative Response vision test, a new full field ... it is estimated that 6.3 million Americans will have glaucoma, with black Americans ...
(Date:5/2/2019)... ... 02, 2019 , ... Researchers from Ambry Genetics ... U.S. insurer policies for genetic testing and the 2019 National Comprehensive Cancer Network ... cancer (HBOC). , Jill S. Dolinsky, director of clinical affairs at ...
(Date:4/18/2019)... ... April 18, 2019 , ... Taking a step ... a chemical engineer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a novel process ... to manufacture isobutanol and other biofuels more economically. , Isobutanol, like ethanol, is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: