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 Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland
15.11.2018 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs
14.11.2018 | Uppsala University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland

15.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

When electric fields make spins swirl

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Discovery of a cool super-Earth

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>