OCB Science Highlights

OCB Science Highlights

If you would like to have your recent publications featured on the OCB website and eNewsletter please contact ocb_news@whoi.edu. View our guidelines for writing a OCB Science Highlight.

Upwelling and solubility drive global surface dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) distribution

August 20, 2019

What drives the latitudinal gradient in open-ocean surface DIC concentration? Understanding the processes that drive the distribution of carbon in the surface ocean is essential to the study of the ocean carbon cycle and future predictions of ocean acidification and the ocean carbon sink. Authors of a recent study in Biogeosciences investigated causes of the […]

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Air-sea gas exchange estimates biased by multi-day surface trapping

August 20, 2019

Routine measurements of air-sea gas exchange assume a homogeneous gas concentration across the upper few meters of the ocean. But is this assumption valid? A recent study in Biogeosciences revealed substantial systematic gradients of nitrous oxide (N2O) in the top few meters of the Peruvian upwelling regime. These gradients lead to a 30% overestimate of […]

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Regional circulation changes and a growing atmospheric CO2 concentration drive accelerated anthropogenic carbon uptake in the South Pacific

August 6, 2019

About one tenth of human CO2 emissions are currently being taken up by the Pacific Ocean, which makes the seawater more corrosive to the calcium carbonate shells and skeletons of the plants and animals that live there. Now, thanks to hard work by international teams of scientists from the Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program […]

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A new era of observing the ocean carbonate system

August 6, 2019

Amidst a backdrop of natural variability, the ocean carbonate system is undergoing a massive anthropogenic change. To capture this anthropogenic signal and differentiate it from natural variability, carbonate observations are needed across a range of spatial and temporal scales (Figure 1), many of which are not captured by traditional oceanographic platforms. A new review of […]

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Can microzooplankton shape the depth distribution of phytoplankton?

July 23, 2019

Photosynthetic, single-celled phytoplankton form the base of many marine and lacustrine (lake) food webs. These microscopic algae typically occur in the sunlit surface layer, but in many ecosystems, there are also sub-surface peaks in phytoplankton and chlorophyll-a, their key photosynthetic pigment. Historically, scientists have explained deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) formation by invoking “bottom-up” processes such […]

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Deep ocean carbon reconstruction helps decipher a million-year-old climate mystery

July 23, 2019

Approximately one million years ago, Earth’s periodic ice ages increased in strength and duration, shifting from a 41,000-year pacing to a 100,000-year pacing, both linked to Earth’s orbital variations. The causes of this climate shift known as the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT) have been debated for decades. A recent study in Nature Geoscience addresses how the […]

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The causes of the 90-ppm glacial atmospheric CO2 drawdown still strongly debated

July 9, 2019

Joint feature with GEOTRACES Using an observationally constrained earth system model, S. Khatiwala and co-workers compare different processes that could lead to the 90-ppm glacial atmospheric CO2 drawdown, with an important improvement on the deep carbon storage quantification (i.e. Biological Carbon Pump efficiency). They demonstrate that circulation and sea ice changes had only a modest net […]

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Forecasting air-sea CO2 flux variations several years in advance

July 9, 2019

Year-to-year changes in the flux of CO2 between the atmosphere and the ocean impact the global carbon cycle and climate system, and challenge our ability to verify fossil fuel CO2 emissions. A new study published in Earth System Dynamics suggests that these air-sea CO2 flux variations are predictable several years in advance. A novel set […]

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Upwelled hydrothermal Fe stimulates massive phytoplankton blooms in the Southern Ocean

July 9, 2019

Joint feature with GEOTRACES In a recent study, Ardyna et al combined observations of profiling floats with historical trace element data and satellite altimetry and ocean color data from the Southern Ocean to reveal that dissolved iron of hydrothermal origin can be upwelled to the surface. Furthermore, the activity of deep hydrothermal sources can influence […]

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The competing impacts of climate change and nutrient reductions on dissolved oxygen in Chesapeake Bay

June 12, 2019

The Chesapeake Bay is a 200-mile-long estuary with both economic and ecological importance to the mid-Atlantic region. Runoff, pollution, and algae blooms resulting in hypoxia have been major issues over the past 50 years, and much work has been done to improve the water quality and health of the Bay. Dissolved oxygen concentrations will be […]

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