Mar 02 2012 Posted: 15:41 GMT

Over 75 scientists will gather at NUI Galway for the annual project meeting of CARBOCHANGE (Changes in carbon uptake and emissions by oceans in a changing climate on 7-9 March. The meeting will take place in the Aula Maxima at the University.

CARBOCHANGE is a large-scale integrating collaborative research project of €7 million funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme (FP7), and is  coordinated by the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen, Norway. CARBOCHANGE gathers a consortium of 28 research institutions, including NUI Galway, from Europe, North America and Africa with outstanding scientific expertise in the field of carbon cycle research.

The goal of the CARBOCHANGE project is to quantify the oceanic uptake of human-produced carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning and land use changes is the main contributor to a human-induced climate change. Currently, the ocean takes up about 25% of the worldwide annually produced carbon dioxide but this rate is subject to continuous change. CARBOCHANGE investigates how large this uptake rate has been in the past, how it is changing at present, and how it will evolve in the future. Carbon dioxide in the surface ocean has to pass through the bottleneck of oceanic mixing on its way to the deep ocean. Climate change and biogeochemical processes further modify the oceanic absorption of carbon dioxide. CARBOCHANGE employs cutting edge measurement and modelling techniques to watch the ongoing carbon dioxide uptake by the oceans, to understand the underlying processes, and to predict changes in uptake to come.

Dr Brian Ward, School of Physics and the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “It is essential to know for human societies how much carbon dioxide is absorbed and where the human-produced carbon dioxide in the ocean is going. Key issues include: how the amount of carbon dioxide remaining in the atmosphere determines the strength of climate change; and that carbon dioxide taken up by the oceans causes the progressing problem of ocean acidification with potentially severe consequences for marine life.”

Dr Ward continued: “The participation of NUI Galway in this high-level international research project by NUI Galway underlines the expertise and importance of this institution within the climate research communities, both at National, European, and International levels.”

Keynote speakers at the CARBOCHANGE meeting are Professor Niki Gruber from ETH Zurich and Dr Brian Ward from NUI Galway.


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