Ocean Interactions

How will the polar oceans continue to influence – and be influenced by – climate change? The Arctic Ocean exerts a dramatic influence on global climate through the reflectivity of sea ice and the release of freshwater into wider circulation, while the Southern Ocean is very effective at absorbing carbon dioxide and heat from the atmosphere. Climate change will alter the biogeochemistry of the polar oceans with impacts on a range of ecosystems. (JGR: Biogeosciences)


How is the Arctic region changing and what will be the impact on global climate in the coming decades? Warming, freshening and circulation of water in the Arctic Ocean is affecting sea ice, the atmosphere and land. We need a better understanding of the ocean’s role and interrelationships in the wider Arctic system. (JGR: Oceans)


How can models used to predict future climate take the past into account? The ocean waters in a ring around Antarctica (the Southern Ocean) are very important in Earth’s climate system because they are the central hub of global ocean circulation. In this cold and remote region with very productive ecosystems (krill and whales), deep waters rise to the surface, allowing exchange of carbon and nutrients between the ocean waters and the atmosphere. Paleoceanographic studies document the vital role of the Southern Ocean in past periods of global climate change, driving Earth’s glacial and interglacial cycles through changes in ocean circulation and biological productivity. (Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology)

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