Marine Carbon Dioxide

Fifteen years of Ocean Carbon Research on RCCL ships

Figures and content by Rik Wanninkhof

ocean currents
In the past 15 years > 700,000 surface water carbon observations has been obtained on more than 450 cruises of RCCL ships in the Caribbean.

ocean currents
The time series have provided the first high resolution trends showing a large seasonal cycle in CO2,and decadal trends which indicate greater carbon uptake in the first decade followed by the most recent decade of carbon release from the ocean. The trend follows the large-scale climate pattern of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) but exact cause is under investigation

ocean currents

The RCCL data, along with remotely sensed parameters are used to create monthly maps of ocean health as related to ocean acidification. The pH map for January 2017 showed a pattern of greater acidification in the Southern Caribbean compared to the North

Use of the RCCL ships as research platforms is gratefully acknowledged. Support for the ocean carbon projects on the RCCL ships is provided by the NOAA Ocean Acidification office (OAP and the NOAA Ocean Observations and Monitoring Division (OOMD))