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Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society

PLENARY PAPERdoi:10.5270/OceanObs09.pp.18

Towards an Integrated Observing System for Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry at a Time of Change

Nicolas Gruber(1), Arne Körtzinger(2), Alberto Borges(3), Hervé Claustre(4), Scott C. Doney(5), Richard A. Feely(6), Maria Hood(7), Masao Ishii(8), Alexander Kozyr(9), Pedro Monteiro(10), Yukihiro Nojiri(11), Christopher L. Sabine(12), Ute Schuster(13), Douglas W.R. Wallace(2), Rik Wanninkhof(14)

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Ocean biogeochemical cycles are currently undergoing fundamental changes - largely as a consequence of the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The oceans are getting warmer, and their pH and oxygen levels are decreasing. Further changes may arise as a consequence of the perturbation of the global nitrogen cycle, leading to higher inputs of fixed nitrogen to the ocean by rivers and enhanced deposition of nitrogen to the surface ocean. These biogeochemical changes plus the concomitant changes in ocean circulation will have profound effects on some of the ocean's key services, i.e. its capability to mitigate climate change by removing anthropogenic CO2 from the atmosphere, and its provision of important ecosystem services such as food and biodiversity. Documenting, understanding, and predicting these biogeochemical changes require a concerted and sustained observational effort that includes both the continuation of well-tested approaches and the development and implementation of novel systems. Of particular importance for the first set of approaches are the sustaining and extension of (i) a surface ocean volunteer ocean ship-based observing system primarily focusing on the determination of the air-sea exchange of CO2 and upper ocean changes in carbonate chemistry, of (ii) an interior ocean research-ship based system focusing on large-scale interior changes of the ocean's biogeochemistry (carbon, oxygen, nutrients, etc), and of (iii) ship-based and moored time-series observations at key sites, including the coastal ocean. Of particular importance for the second set of approaches are (i) the accelerated improvement, development and implementation of new observational elements on the Argo (Array for Real-time Geostrophic Oceanography) array (especially oxygen, but also nutrient and bio-optical sensors), and (ii) the development, testing, and deployment of novel sensors for the ocean's carbon system. Concerted synthesis efforts involving also novel approaches for merging observations with biogeochemical models will ensure that these observational elements realize their synergistic potential.

1Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
2Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany
3Institut de Physique, Université de Liège, B-4000 Liège, Belgium
4CNRS and Université P. & M. Curie, Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
5Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA
6NOAA-Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, WA, USA
7Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, 1 Rue Miollis, 75732 Paris, France
8Meteorological Research Institute, JMA, Nagamine 1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0052, Japan
9Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6290 USA
10Ocean Systems & Climate Group, CSIR, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
11National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan
12NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, WA, USA
13School of Environment Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK
14NOAA/AOML, 4301 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149 USA

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: nicolas.gruber@env.ethz.ch

This paper shall be cited as:

Gruber, N. & Co-Authors (2010). "Towards an Integrated Observing System for Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry at a Time of Change" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 1), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.pp.18

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