Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

IMaging Ocean Sinkers for evaluating carbon export fluxes

Project description

Particle imaging with high resolution underwater cameras evaluate ocean carbon export fluxes

Small changes in the efficiency of the biological carbon pump (BCP) can greatly alter ocean carbon sequestration and, thus, atmospheric CO2 and climate. Currently, the factors that drive BCP variability are poorly understood, and annual global estimates of the magnitude of carbon export from the ocean surface via the BCP vary up to 400 %. The EU-funded IMOS project will focus on increasing the precision of export assessments and restraining its variability using the latest technological advances in in-situ imaging and autonomous sampling, combined with advanced methods to collect sinking particles and powerful simulation tools. The research will link optical properties to direct carbon flux measurements to obtain higher resolution quantification of carbon export in the oceans via the BCP.

Objective

It is becoming increasingly evident that small changes in the efficiency of the Biological Carbon Pump BCP can significantly alter ocean carbon sequestration and, thus, atmospheric CO2 and climate. Despite their importance, the factors that drive the BCP variability are poorly understood. As a consequence, current annual global estimates of the magnitude of carbon (C) export from the surface ocean via the BCP vary up to 400% (from 5 to 21 Gt C yr-1). IMOS will focus on increasing the precision of the export assessments and restraining the variability by taking advantage of some of the most promising technological advances in in-situ imaging and autonomous sampling combined with state of the art methods and powerful simulation tools. Specifically, IMOS will use particle imaging with high resolution underwater cameras, UVP (Underwater Vision Profiler) type, which will be combined with a uniquely modified autonomous float to allow for the first time simultaneous in-situ particle imaging and sinking particle collection. The overall research objective is to link optical properties to direct C flux measurements to obtain higher resolution quantification of C export in the oceans via the BCP.

The fellow will spend the first 2 years at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) under the supervision of Dr. Ken Buesseler. The last 12 months will be spent at the Universidad de Sevilla (USE), under the supervision of Dr. María Villa-Alfageme. She will return to Europe with the technical expertise required to work with unique field measurements and develop improved global parametrizations of the BCP efficiency, which are key areas of expertise for describing the present and future role of the BCP in global climate models. Research results will be of interest to worldwide researchers working on the study of the impact of the BCP on the global C cycle, promoting European excellence and competitiveness in dedicated European and international carbon export projects.

æ

Coordinator

UNIVERSIDAD DE SEVILLA
Net EU contribution
€ 245 732,16
Address
Calle s. fernando 4
41004 Sevilla
Spain

See on map

Region
Sur Andalucía Sevilla
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Partners (1)