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Ocean ICU: Improving Carbon Understanding


Active project

Project start: November 2022  |  Project end: October 2027
Funder: OceanICU is co-funded by the European Union, Horizon Europe Funding Programme for research and innovation
Principal Investigator: Professor Jerry Blackford
Other participants from PML:
Helen Powley, Gennadi Lessin, Rebecca Millington

The Horizon EU OceanICU is a five year project that seeks to gain a new understanding of the biological carbon pump and its processes in order to provide fundamental knowledge and tools to help policy makers, regulators and Ocean industry–fishing and mining, along with the wider blue economy–manage and understand the impact of their actions on Ocean carbon. This will ultimately lead to a better approach for addressing climate change in alignment with the EU Green Deal to reduce the net emissions of greenhouse gases to Zero by 2050.
Slowing the rate of climate change, the ocean acts as a carbon sink. It absorbs 25 % of the CO2 we emit to the atmosphere. While the ocean plays an important role in the global carbon cycle, it is not easy to measure and model carbon uptake. For instance, it is not possible yet to quantitatively link ocean carbon storage and direct human pressures like fishing and mineral extraction. In this context, the OceanICU project will measure these key processes and evaluate their overall significance, transferring those that are important into models that inform the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in order to resolve the observed model data mismatch of ocean carbon sink estimates. This is in line with the EU’s Green Deal commitments.



OceanICU is connecting with decision makers to assess the current trajectories in International policy, with a focus on how these policies might affect the Biological Carbon Pump and to effectively disseminate the knowledge and understanding gained from the project’s research and activities to the European and International community of policy and decision makers.

With the data and decision support tools (DSTs) developed through OceanICU, decision makers will have more effective tools to inform mitigation actions and influence business strategies benefiting from Marine Climate and extraction services, ultimately guiding International policy to better protect the BCP and achieve the EU Green Deal target of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Funded By

OceanICU is co-funded by the European Union, Horizon Europe Funding Programme for research and innovation under grant agreement No.101083922 and by UK Research and Innovation.