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Breathing Oceans: understanding the organic skin that modulates the exchange of greenhouse gases between the atmosphere and the ocean

Project description

How oceans absorb and release greenhouse gases

The ocean is a natural sink for CO2 and other climate gases. Quantifying the exchange of gases between the ocean and the atmosphere can provide pivotal insights into climate systems; however, this is challenging to do. Addressing this, the EU-funded BOOGIE project will shed light on how the ocean's organic skin layer modulates this exchange and its importance for estimating intrinsic oceanic sinks and sources of greenhouse gases. The project will focus on a land-ocean transect from South America toward the African continent and investigate organic matter control of the air-water gas exchange.

Objective

Oceans are a global reservoir of greenhouse gases, estimated to account for 20–40% of the post-industrial sink for anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2). However, quantifying the exchange of gases such as CO2, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) between the ocean and atmosphere is a major challenge. Understanding how the ocean’s organic skin layer modulates this exchange is critical to estimate the intrinsic oceanic sinks and sources of these key greenhouse gases both now and in the future. Organic substances in the skin layer, known as surfactants, span across traditional operational definitions and are derived from multiple sources undergoing biotic and abiotic transformations along the land-ocean continuum. This proposal will investigate a land-ocean transect from South America toward the African Continent to investigate organic matter control of air-water gas exchange. Central to this work is the application of new technologies, using novel in-situ sensor platforms and advanced geochemical characterisation techniques. This new and unique data will be incorporated into hydrological and gas flux models to examine spatial and temporal effects of surfactant suppression of gas exchange – both now and in the future.

Host institution

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY
Net EU contribution
€ 1 960 748,00
Address
Riccarton
EH14 4AS Edinburgh
United Kingdom

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Region
Scotland Eastern Scotland Edinburgh
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
€ 1 960 748,00

Beneficiaries (1)