New study to investigate the impacts of ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean

New study to investigate the impacts of ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean

 

PML scientists, amongst a team of thirty others from eight of the UK’s top research laboratories, are participating in a major UK expedition to the Southern Ocean.

The team are setting out on an oceanographic mission to study the effect of ocean acidification in waters near Antarctica. The five week long research cruise, aboard the Natural Environment Research Council’s RRS James Clark Ross, departed yesterday for some of the coldest waters on Earth.

The ocean is an integral part of the climate system. By absorbing large amounts of the carbon dioxide (CO2), mostly produced as result of our use of fossil fuels, the ocean helps to slow the rate and severity of climate change. The global ocean has absorbed more than 30% of the total CO2 produced by human activities in the past 200 years. While this can be seen as a benefit, the down side is that as the ocean absorbs more and more CO2 its chemistry changes and the seawater moves down the pH scale towards acidity. This process is known as ocean acidification.

Cold waters naturally hold more CO2 than warmer waters so the icy Southern Ocean is expected to be especially informative for studying the effects of ocean acidification. Additionally, deep-water upwelling around Antarctica brings water to the surface that already contains very high levels of CO2. For these reasons, the waters of the Southern Ocean are likely to provide a unique window into how the marine environment will respond to higher CO2 levels in the future.

You can find out more about the PML scientists aboard and follow their journey to Southern Ocean here.

You may be interested in...

News

PML supports $2 million XPRIZE seeking new sensors to study ocean acidification

PML has been named official supporter of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE foundation, following the exciting announcement this week that XPRIZE will be offering a $2-million prize challenge to an innovator who can build cheaper and better pH sensors in the quest for a...

News

Southern Ocean Atlas

A new biogeographic atlas was released yesterday, providing a comprehensive audit of marine life in the Southern Ocean.

News

Landmark global scale study reveals potential future impact of oa

Ocean acidification and the extent to which marine species are able to deal with low pH levels in the Earth’s seas, could have a significant influence on shifting the distribution of marine animals in response to climate warming.