Euphotic Zone Study moves forward



The Global Ocean Euphotic Zone Study (GOEZS), a potential core program of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) being planned jointly with the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), was recently given the go-ahead by IGBP's Scientific Committee to move on to the next level of developing its scientific program.

The GOEZS program will focus on the coupled physical, biological, and chemical processes operating in the euphotic zone, which is the ocean surface layer where sufficient light penetrates for photosynthesis by phytoplankton to exceed their metabolic energy losses. The upper ocean is extremely important to understanding the atmosphereocean system because it mediates exchanges of heat, momentum, carbon dioxide, sulphur, and nitrogen between the atmosphere and the ocean interior. For the major greenhouse gas carbon dioxide for example, there is more carbon in the upper ocean than in the whole atmosphere. Essentially all carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that passes from the upper ocean to the ocean interior has been transformed chemically or biologically in the upper ocean. Moreover, the upper ocean is the site of all marine shipping and most recreation and industrial activity and contains the planktonic food chain and most fish stocks.