NOC research expedition to assess continued ability of North Atlantic to mitigate global heating

RRS James Cook (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Murgatroyd49)

On Sunday, January 19, an international research expedition led by scientists from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) sailed from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to conduct a high precision scientific survey in the North Atlantic.

The expedition team on board the NOC vessel RRS James Cook – due to finish in Tenerife, Spain in early March – will document physical and chemical changes occurring in the ocean. These changes are critical in revealing the extent to which subtropical waters have warmed and become more acidic through the absorption of anthropogenic heat and carbon from the atmosphere.

The North Atlantic Ocean is one of the world’s most effective regions at sequestering heat and carbon, storing approximately a quarter of all anthropogenic carbon despite accounting for only 15 per cent of total global volume.

The expedition forms part of the Go-Ship programme, an international collaboration that coordinates and sustains a network of hydrographic sections as part of the global ocean/climate observing system.

Go-Ship cruises take place every decade and typically cover ocean basins from coast to coast and sample the full water column from top to bottom along the way. This allows for changes in inventories of heat, freshwater, carbon, oxygen, nutrients, and transient tracers to be identified.

This new cruise will be the sixth expedition, in addition to cruises in 2015, 2010, 2004, 1998, and 1992.

The expedition forms part of the UK’s contribution to the global Go-Ship programme, and is funded through the NERC’s Climate Linked Atlantic Sector Science (CLASS) programme.

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