OCB Science Highlights

OCB Science Highlights

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Ocean iron fertilization commercialization: bad idea; Continued research: good idea

January 21, 2020

Amidst little to no substantive global action on climate change mitigation, individuals and companies have been exploring various geoengineering strategies as a possible alternative. Ocean Iron Fertilization (OIF) is an ocean-based strategy that involves the addition of iron to the sunlit upper layers of the ocean in iron-limited areas such as the Southern Ocean in […]

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The past, present, and future of the ocean carbon cycle: A global data product with regional insights

January 21, 2020

A new study published in Scientific Reports debuts a global data product of ocean acidification (OA) and buffer capacity from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the end of the century (1750-2100 C.E.). To develop this product, the authors linked one of the richest observational carbon dioxide (CO2) data products (6th version of the […]

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Surface bacterial communities respond to rapid changes in the western Arctic

January 7, 2020

During the western Arctic summer open water season, latitudinal differences in the physical and biogeochemical features of the surface water are apparent from the Bering Strait to the Chukchi Borderland. Lower latitude regions (i.e. Bering Strait to Chukchi Shelf) are primarily driven by the inflow of Pacific waters that supply nutrients and heat, leading to […]

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Unexpected DOC additions in the deep Atlantic

January 7, 2020

Oceanic dissolved organic carbon (DOC) ultimately exchanges with atmospheric CO2 and thus represents an important carbon source/sink with consequence for climate. Most of the DOC is recalcitrant to microbial degradation, with some fractions surviving for thousands of years. Therefore, DOC in the deep ocean was thought to be stable or to decrease slowly over decades […]

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The ocean’s smallest phytoplankton may be bigger than we thought

December 17, 2019

Flow cytometry can sort hundreds of thousands of phytoplankton cells in minutes, a tool that has been exploited for over thirty years in marine science. However, skilled analysts are still needed for manual interpretation of these cells into different types and then further into size distributions and optical properties. In a recent study published in […]

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What really controls deep-seafloor calcite dissolution?

December 16, 2019

On time scales of tens to millions of years, seawater acidity is primarily controlled by biogenic calcite (CaCO3) dissolution on the seafloor. Our quantitative understanding of future oceanic pH and carbonate system chemistry requires knowledge of what controls this dissolution. Past experiments on the dissolution rate of suspended calcite grains have consistently suggested a high-order, […]

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Estimating the large-scale biological pump: Do eddies matter?

December 4, 2019

One factor that limits our capacity to quantify the ocean biological carbon pump is uncertainty associated with the physical injection of particulate (POC) and dissolved (DOC) organic carbon to the ocean interior. It is challenging to integrate the effects of these pumps, which operate at small spatial (<100 km) and temporal (<1 month) scales. Previous […]

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A role for tropical nitrogen fixers in glacial CO2 drawdown

December 4, 2019

Iron fertilization of marine phytoplankton by Aeolian dust is a well-established mechanism for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) drawdown by the ocean. When atmospheric CO2 decreased by 90-100 ppm during previous ice ages, fertilization of iron-limited phytoplankton in the high latitudes was thought to have contributed up to 1/3 (30 ppm) of the total CO2 drawdown. Unfortunately, recent […]

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The Equatorial Undercurrent influences the fate of the Oxygen Minimum Zone in the Pacific

November 12, 2019

While the ocean as a whole is losing oxygen due to warming, oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) are maintained by a delicate balance of biological and physical processes; it is unclear how each one of them is going to evolve in the future. Changes to OMZs could affect the global uptake of carbon, the generation of […]

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Biogeochemical controls of surface ocean phosphate

November 12, 2019

Phosphorus availability is important for phytoplankton growth and more broadly ocean biogeochemical cycles. However, phosphate concentration is often below the analytical detection limit of the standard auto-analyzer technique. Thus, we know little about geographic phosphate variation across most low latitude regions. To address this issue, a global collaboration of scientists conducted a study published in […]

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