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Pathways and emissions of climate-relevant trace gases in a changing Arctic Ocean (PETRA)

Arctic coastal waters and ice

Completed project

Project start: April 2018  |  Project end: March 2021
Funder: NERC
Principal Investigator: Dr Andy Rees
Other participants from PML: Dr Carol Turley, Dr Darren Clark, Dr Gennadi Lessin, Dr Glen Tarran, Dr Vassilis Kitidis, Dr Yuri Artioli, Ian Brown, Lisa Al-Moosawi

The Arctic Ocean is a rapidly changing environment, with rising temperatures leading to an ongoing decline in sea ice and shifting conditions for marine life. Despite the presence of important and complex ecosystems in Arctic waters, there are knowledge gaps in how the Arctic Ocean and its inhabitants will be impacted upon and respond to global climate change.

PETRA (Pathways and Emissions of climate-relevant TRace gases in a changing Arctic Ocean) will combine chemical and biological observations with modelling to investigate the impact of three important stressors - ocean acidification, warming waters, and elevated irradiation - on the cycling of key trace gases in the Arctic Ocean which play a large part in controlling our climate. 

The project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and forms part of the Changing Arctic Oceans (CAO) programme, which aims to research Arctic Ocean ecosystems and the pressures that they face.



The novelty of PETRA lies in the investigation of multiple stressors both in isolation and combination which will provide us with a unique insight into the cycling of climate-relevant trace gases in the Arctic.

Data will be made publically available and utilised in both atmospheric and Earth-system models and used to further develop fluxEngine, an open source tool for the calculation of sea-air gas fluxes.

The findings from the project will help to determine what CO2 emissions pathways are realistic for given climate targets, and the risks associated with these pathways and aims to inform policy on climate change.