Global data products help assess changes to ocean carbon sink



Net oceanic uptake of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) reduces global warming but also leads to ocean acidification [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2007]. Understanding and predicting changes in the ocean carbon sink are critical to assessments of future climate change. Surface water CO2 measurements suggest large year-to-year variations in oceanic CO2 uptake for several regions [Doney et al., 2009]. However, there is much debate on whether these changes are cyclical or indicative of long-term trends. Sustained, globally coordinated observations of the surface ocean carbon cycle and systematic handling of such data are essential for assessing variation and trends in regional and global ocean carbon uptake, information necessary for accurate estimates of global and national carbon budgets.


SOCAT is supported by IOCCP, the Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study, and the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research program. Support has been received from the University of Bergen (Norway), the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (Norway), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (United States), the University of Washington (United States), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (United States), the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), the National Institute for Environmental Studies (Japan), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia), the CARBOOCEAN (Norway) and CARBOCHANGE (Norway) projects of the European Union, the National Science Foundation (United States), the international Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (United States), the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST Action 735; United Kingdom), and the U.K. Ocean Acidification Research Programme.