Controls over Ocean Mesopelagic Interior Carbon Storage

COMICS is a four year collaborative research project that aims to quantify the flow of carbon in the ocean's 'twilight' zone in order to more accurately model global climate change.

This 'twilight' zone is the part of the ocean between 100m and 1000m below the sea surface, where only a small amount of light from the sun can still penetrate. It is currently known that the efficiency of carbon transport from the atmosphere through this zone is key to regulating atmospheric CO2 levels.

However, the processes that control the efficiency of biological storage of carbon in the deep ocean are not well known, which is an obstacle to predicting how they may change. By investigating carbon dynamics in the ocean interior, COMICS will help to improve predictions of future global climate change.

 

WITHOUT OCEAN BIOLOGY ATMOSPHERIC CO2 LEVELS WOULD BE 50% HIGHER THAN THEY ALREADY ARE.

 

By building on previous work with new data from two research cruises and exploiting new technologies COMICS will shed light on carbon transport processes in the twilight zone. COMICS will integrate modelling and new data from two research cruises in the tropical Atlantic and Southern Ocean.

Reuters video - Plankton poo clue could aid climate predictions

Matthew Stock reports.

 

THE BIOLOGICAL CARBON PUMP PROVIDES SOCIETAL BENEFITS BY REGULATING OUR CLIMATE. UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESSES BEHIND THESE BENEFITS WILL HELP DEVELOP STRATEGIES FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE.

 

COMICS will make observations at sea of particle flux and quantify interior biological processes using stable isotopes. It will apply organic geochemical and molecular biological techniques to samples collected using nets and traps.

The COMICS project will be led by the National Oceanography Centre and is a collaboration between the British Antarctic Survey and the universities of Queen Mary London, Liverpool, Oxford and Southampton. The project has received funding from the Natural Environmental Research Council and will run between January 2017 and 2021.

 

Scientists deploying equipment

Phytoplankton

 

Southern Atlantic
BY THE TIME THIS PROJECT IS COMPLETE IN 2021 IT WILL HAVE CONTRIBUTED DIRECTLY TO THE NEXT IPCC ASSESSMENT OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE.

 

 

CONTACT DETAILS

comics@noc.ac.uk
#comicscarbon

NOC is the UK’s centre of excellence in marine science and undertakes world-class research in an Earth system context
 

PROJECT PARTNERS

National Oceanography Centre
British Antarctic Survey
University of Southampton
University of Liverpool
University of Oxford
Queen Mary University London