OCB Science Highlights

OCB Science Highlights

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The ecology of the biological carbon pump

October 15, 2019

Plankton in the surface ocean convert CO2 into organic biomass thereby fueling marine food webs. Part of this organic biomass sinks down into the deep ocean, where the surface-derived organic carbon, or respired CO2, is locked in for decades to millennia. Without the biological carbon pump, atmospheric CO2 would be ~200 ppm higher than it […]

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A new tidal non-photochemical quenching model reveals obscured variability in coastal chlorophyll fluorescence

October 15, 2019

Although chlorophyll fluorescence is widely-used as a proxy for chlorophyll concentration, sunlight exposure makes fluorescence measurements inaccurate through a process called non-photochemical quenching, limiting its proxy accuracy during daylight hours. In the open ocean, where time and space scales are large relative to variability in phytoplankton concentration, daytime chlorophyll fluorescence—necessary for satellite algorithm validation and […]

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A new roadmap of climate change driven ocean changes

October 2, 2019

When will we see significant changes in the ocean due to climate change? A new study in Nature Climate Change confirms that outcomes tied directly to the escalation of atmospheric carbon dioxide have already emerged in the existing 30-year observational record. These include sea surface warming, acidification, and increases in the rate at which the […]

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Industrial era climate forcing drives multi-century decline in North Atlantic productivity

October 2, 2019

Phytoplankton respond directly to climate forcing, and due to their central role in global oxygen production and atmospheric carbon sequestration, they are critical components of the Earth’s climate system. There are however few observations detailing past variability in marine primary productivity, particularly over multi-decadal to centennial timescales. This limits our understanding of the long-term impact […]

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Where the primary production goes determines whether you catch tuna or cod

September 6, 2019

Fishes are incredibly diverse, fill various roles in their ecosystems, and are an important resource—economically, socially, and nutritionally. The relationship between primary productivity and fish catches is not straightforward; fisheries oceanographers and managers have long struggled to predict abundances and fully understand the controls of cross-ecosystem differences in fish abundances and assemblages. A recent study […]

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Predicting marine ecosystem futures

September 4, 2019

Earth System Models (ESMs) are powerful and effective tools for exploring and predicting marine ecosystem response to environmental change, including biogeochemical processes that underlie threats to ocean health such as ocean acidification, deoxygenation, and changes in productivity. Seasonal to interannual marine biogeochemical predictions with ESMs hold great promise for exploring links between climate and marine […]

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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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