Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ocean Carbon Cycle Affected by Drought

14.08.2003

Recent drought conditions in the North Pacific Ocean near Hawaii have caused a decrease in the strength of the carbon dioxide sink, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature. A team funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by scientists Dave Karl and Roger Lukas of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii used 15 years of time-series measurements to compare the precipitation, salinity and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations at Station ALOHA, located in the Pacific Ocean approximately 100 kilometers north of Oahu.

The study shows that a decrease in the tendency of the ocean to take up CO2 is due to an increase in the water’s salinity, which is a direct result of the drought seen in much of the North Pacific Ocean over the past five years.

"Our study can be considered an oceanic analogue of the long standing atmospheric measurement program at the Mauna Loa Observatory," says Karl. "The results from this study were unexpected; we didn’t realize how much difference salinity can make when modeling the carbon cycle."

According to John Dore, a SOEST researcher and lead author of the study, rainfall patterns and ocean CO2 are inexorably linked. "We all recognize the impacts of drought on land, but its effects on the biogeochemistry of the ocean have tended to go unnoticed," says Dore.

The Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) program is an ongoing field study designed to determine temporal variability in physical, chemical and biological processes in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG), one of Earth’s largest habitats. The program began in October 1988 with the establishment of the benchmark sampling site, Station ALOHA, at 22o45’N, 158oW. Nearly every month for the past 15 years, a team of interdisciplinary scientists with common research objectives have been making shipboard measurements, conducting experiments and testing a broad range of ecological hypotheses.

"This extended period of time-series measurements is very rare," says Lukas. "Along with a sister station in Bermuda, Station ALOHA has the longest records of comprehensive biogeochemical and physical measurements anywhere in the world."

The data have already revealed unexpected variability in habitat changes and in the response of the organisms living there. The present study is but one important example. "These interesting results are another example that shows the importance of longterm observations to ocean research," says James Yoder, director of NSF’s division of ocean sciences, which funded the research. "Ocean observatories of the future will provide the capability to tease out important signals that are missed during the comparatively short duration of oceanographic expeditions."

Scientists involved in the HOT project have recently received new funding (with other colleagues) from NSF to establish an autonomous ocean observatory at Station ALOHA, reusing an abandoned fiber optic telephone cable to extend the Internet from their offices to the seafloor three miles below the ocean surface. From there, the cable travels upward into the surface layer, providing the capability for real-time observations of ocean processes. "With this observatory we will move much of the sampling from the ship to our desktops," says Lukas. "But, there will always be a need for us to go to sea, both to maintain the observatory, and to make measurements that require water sampling."

During this next five-year observation period, the measurement program will move toward more autonomous detection of ocean characteristics by connecting instrumented moorings to the ALOHA observatory and using autonomous underwater vehicles and gliders to provide spatial context around the site.

The research was also funded by the State of Hawaii.

Cheryl Dybas | NSF
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov
http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht 'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field
23.02.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

nachricht NASA spies Tropical Cyclone 08P's formation
23.02.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>