PMEL has released “The Ocean: Earth’s CO2 Sponge,” the latest video in the PMEL at Work short video series. The PMEL at Work series highlights ongoing research activities and projects supporting NOAA’s mission to understand changes in the global ocean and its impact on climate, weather and ecosystems.
In this video, Adrienne Sutton of PMEL’s Ocean Carbon Program, and Sophie Chu, formerly of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) at the University of Washington, highlight the exchange of carbon between the ocean and atmosphere and the ocean’s role in absorbing human carbon emissions, as well as how the ocean is impacted, and effects on marine ecosystems, climate and weather. They give a brief overview of the evolution of data collection practices—from the placement of CO2 instruments on cargo ships and research vessels starting in the 1960s, to sensors being deployed on buoys in the 1990s, to today’s innovative use of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs). USVs have proved to be particularly effective at filling observational gaps in rough conditions, such as those of the Southern Ocean , and providing new insights into the role storms play in air-sea carbon exchange.
The Ocean Carbon Group at PMEL works to advance our scientific understanding of the ocean carbon cycle and how it is changing over time. They do so by observing the evolving state of the ocean carbon chemistry with high-quality measurements on ships and autonomous platforms, studying the processes controlling the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle, and investigating how rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and climate change affect the chemistry of the oceans and its marine ecosystems.