Climate scientist Peter Landshutzer, director of research at VLIZ, contributed to the report. The Austrian has been researching the ocean’s role as a climate buffer throughout his career.
During my PhD I did a CO in the UK2Measurements of vessels. I traveled four times on a container ship from the UK to the Caribbean, and it was very grueling research expeditions. The frustrating thing was: I was the only person who did anything with that data. All this effort for very little output.
“So I set myself the goal of making it more valuable. Using machine learning techniques, I designed neural networks that make the data usable for a wide audience.
Want to make a better contribution to the climate debate?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my collaboration with policymakers, it’s that you have to give them one score. a. It shouldn’t be more difficult. So I wanted to calculate this number. During my postdoc in Zurich and then at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg, I worked on neural networks. They confirmed that we can increase the ocean’s storage of carbon dioxide2 can express in the form and so in Global carbon budget can stab“.
At VLIZ I want to work on an important factor that we have been missing until now: coastal areas. These are very important, but they are much more complicated than the open ocean. Of course we need data for that. VLIZ participates in ICOS (Integrated carbon monitoring system), a European project with permanent long-term CO2 monitoring stations2 Observation in the oceans, land and atmosphere.
Coastal areas capture about ten percent of the carbon dioxide2It sucks it in from the ocean, but there’s a lot of vegetation, so there’s a lot of potential for more. All the blue economy is happening there, but we don’t really know how they change because of that. They depend heavily on rivers. And also important: about 70 to 80 percent of the world’s population lives there.
What do you think are more file conclusions Global carbon budget 2022?
The most striking thing this year is CO2emissions. Two years ago, we saw a clear decline in fossil fuel emissions due to the Covid pandemic. We’ve all struggled with the limitations imposed on us, but they prove that there are procedures that work.
“We are now back to the pre-Covid level. This is a missed opportunity and a sign that we have not learned our lesson. And perhaps the most disturbing conclusion from this report is this: If you look at the emissions curve, you will only see a slight dip in 2020. And that shows how it should be.” We significantly reduce emissions.
The surroundings matter Director Officewhich is a carbon dioxide storage facility2. How it works?
The ocean and atmosphere strive for equilibrium: Both usually contain roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide2. carbon dioxide exchange2 Between the atmosphere and the oceans is driven by the difference in concentration between the two. In pre-industrial times, they were broadly in equilibrium.
When we have a lot of carbon dioxide2 We started emitting that there was an increase in the atmosphere, and we created an imbalance. The ocean is starting to catch up. The data show that CO2-takeacross the ocean keeping pace with the increase in the atmosphere.
Everything in the ocean is a little more complicated than in the atmosphere. The latter is actually very well mixed. Whether you take measurements in the Antarctic or here, the carbon dioxide concentration2 It differs very little compared to the oceans. Biology and circulation play a major role in the ocean. Think of algae and seaweeds as rainforests in the ocean: plants use carbon dioxide2 grow. In places where many plants grow, there is a large uptake of carbon dioxide2 and a little dissolved carbon dioxide2 In the water.’
In other areas you have rising From deep ocean water, which is related to ocean circulation. For example, the Pacific Ocean at the equator gives off carbon dioxide2 in the atmosphere. So the exchange is very different depending on where you are.
El Niño and La Niña also play a role in this?
Its effect is greater on land, but it also plays a role in the ocean. During El Niño, the trade winds at the equator weaken. As a result, more deep sea water comes to the surface and so the ocean emits less carbon dioxide2 away from the atmosphere.
“During La Niña, you see the opposite phenomenon: much stronger winds give off much stronger winds rising. So a lot of carbon dioxide goes2 From the ocean to the atmosphere. You can also see it in the report: Last year and this year, the total ocean storage was a bit smaller, because the ocean has more carbon dioxide.2 Issues due to La Nina.
This natural exchange between ocean and air, is it threatened? Could a situation arise that the ocean can no longer follow?
“This is a major concern. More CO2 The ocean absorbs it, it becomes more acidic. We are changing the chemical composition of seawater. Acidic water can contain less carbon dioxide2 Record, scientists talk about a decrease in insulating capacity due to acidification.
In predictive climate models, you can see carbon dioxide towards the end of this century2 Surround recording smoothing. The curve no longer continues to rise with increasing carbon dioxide2 In the atmosphere, because the ocean can no longer follow. However, we’re not there yet. In the Global carbon budget You can see that the perimeter’s capacity has decreased by four percent. It’s not much yet, but it’s already beginning. There is a second reason for this decline: warming itself. co2 Because it dissolves better in cold water.
New data is indicated in the report by dotted lines. The ocean seems to have more than carbon dioxide2 from previous calculations. Is this true, and is this good news?
Ocean models have long been used to close the carbon budget. We’ve also been using data for several years now: measurements from vessels have been stitched together, and the gaps filled in with neural network-based interpolations.
Most ships have a so-called seawater inlet at a depth of about five metres. A new 2020 study shows that gas exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere occurs at the surface, where it is cooler. The authors therefore suggested correcting the five-meter depth data. With this correction, the oceans could store more carbon dioxide2 register.’
It looks really good that the ocean has more carbon dioxide2 record than we previously thought. But there is a snake in the grass. There is an imbalance in the global carbon budget. If all of our calculations for fossil emissions, land-use change, marine storage, and land storage are correct, the budget should be zero. We’re not quite there yet, so something is missing.
We now have a negative imbalance: We’re overcapacity or we’re underestimating emissions. If the new data is correct, the ocean will contain more carbon dioxide2 record than we thought. This increases the negative imbalance. This means we’re either overestimating uptake by land, or there’s a whole bunch of emissions somewhere that we haven’t factored into the model yet. This is not good news.
What do you think is the most important message about the ocean and climate in this report?
An important message is that we can still count on the ocean. Historically, the earth was not a storage place: due to changes in land use, it has emitted the same amount of carbon dioxide2 who saved it. So the ocean has been the only true reservoir since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and it’s still working. The buffer is not full yet. Therefore, it is up to us to stop the stress we are causing to the ocean, so that it can continue to perform its buffering function.
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