Cruise 3: Southern Ocean

Antarctic Ocean Acidification Cruise Journal

Antarctic OA Cruise e-book

Download the booklet (pdf)


JR274 Sea Surface OA Consortium Cruise to the Southern Ocean

The Report

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Antarctic OA Cruise Map

The ocean is an integral part of the climate system. By absorbing large amounts of the carbon dioxide (CO2), mostly produced as result of our use of fossil fuels, the ocean helps to slow the rate and severity of climate change. The global ocean has absorbed more than 30% of the total CO2 produced by human activities in the past 200 years. While this can be seen as a benefit, the down side is that as the ocean absorbs more and more CO2its chemistry changes and the seawater moves down the pH scale towards acidity. This process is known as ocean acidification.

Cold waters naturally hold more CO2 than warmer waters so the icy Southern Ocean is expected to be especially informative for studying the effects of ocean acidification. Additionally, deep-water upwelling around Antarctica brings water to the surface that already contains very high levels of CO2. For these reasons, the waters of the Southern Ocean are likely to provide a unique window into how the marine environment will respond to higher CO2 levels in the future. This expedition will include a visit to the Weddell Sea, which has some of the coldest surface waters (-1.8⁰C) anywhere in the world.

During the expedition, scientists will study the impact of the changing chemistry on marine organisms and ecosystems, on the cycling of carbon and nutrients in the sea and on how the sea interacts with the atmosphere to influence climate.