Satellites will address critical science priorities for quantifying ocean carbon

Type Article
Date 2020-02
Language English
Author(s) Shutler Jamie D1, Wanninkhof Rik2, Nightingale Philip D3, Woolf David K4, Bakker Dorothee Ce5, Watson Andy6, Ashton Ian1, Holding Thomas1, Chapron BertrandORCID7, Quilfen YvesORCID7, Fairall Chris8, Schuster Ute6, Nakajima Masakatsu9, Donlon Craig J10
Affiliation(s) 1 : College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter Penryn ,UK
2 : Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Miami FL, USA
3 : Plymouth Marine Laboratory Plymouth ,UK
4 : Heriot Watt University Stromness ,UK
5 : Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric SciencesSchool of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia Norwich ,UK
6 : College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter Exeter ,UK
7 : Institut Francais de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la MER (Ifremer) Brest ,France
8 : National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Boulder CO, USA
9 : Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba, Japan
10 : European Space Agency Noordwijk , The Netherlands
Source Frontiers In Ecology And The Environment (1540-9295) (Wiley), 2020-02 , Vol. 18 , N. 1 , P. 27-34
DOI 10.1002/fee.2129
WOS© Times Cited 15

The ability to routinely quantify global carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption by the oceans has become crucial: it provides a powerful constraint for establishing global and regional carbon (C) budgets, and enables identification of the ecological impacts and risks of this uptake on the marine environment. Advances in understanding, technology, and international coordination have made it possible to measure CO2 absorption by the oceans to a greater degree of accuracy than is possible in terrestrial landscapes. These advances, combined with new satellite‐based Earth observation capabilities, increasing public availability of data, and cloud computing, provide important opportunities for addressing critical knowledge gaps. Furthermore, Earth observation in synergy with in‐situ monitoring can provide the large‐scale ocean monitoring that is necessary to support policies to protect ocean ecosystems at risk, and motivate societal shifts toward meeting C emissions targets; however, sustained effort will be needed.

In a nutshell:

The oceans cover >70% of the Earth's surface and are critical for food supply and maintaining global climate

Increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption alters ocean chemistry and ecology, affecting marine ecosystems over both the short and long term

Accurate estimates of CO2 absorption by the world's oceans provide a powerful constraint on carbon (C) budgets, and are needed to inform policies to motivate societal shifts toward reducing C emissions

We review recent and foreseeable advances for studying oceanic CO2 absorption, explain why satellite‐based Earth observation is key to addressing existing knowledge gaps, and discuss how global monitoring is now both possible and necessary to support policy and conservation

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Shutler Jamie D, Wanninkhof Rik, Nightingale Philip D, Woolf David K, Bakker Dorothee Ce, Watson Andy, Ashton Ian, Holding Thomas, Chapron Bertrand, Quilfen Yves, Fairall Chris, Schuster Ute, Nakajima Masakatsu, Donlon Craig J (2020). Satellites will address critical science priorities for quantifying ocean carbon. Frontiers In Ecology And The Environment, 18(1), 27-34. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :