National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2013

An integrated ocean carbon observing system (IOCOS)

Wanninkhof, R., R. Feely, A. Sutton, C. Sabine, K. Tedesco, N. Gruber, and S. Doney

In U.S. IOOS Summit Community White Papers, Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC), Herndon, Virginia, 13-16 November 2012 (2013)

The global ocean is undergoing fundamental and rapid changes in response to warming, changes in wind stress, atmospheric CO2 increases, and changes in the hydrologic cycle. Each of these factors has impacts on the ocean carbon cycle and the ability of the ocean to sequester CO2 from the atmospheric. In turn, changes in the ocean carbon cycle, and ocean warming and stratification lead to changes in ocean biogeochemistry and ecology. Feedbacks and impacts are complex and not fully understood. However, rapid advances in observing system technology are occurring, along with improvements in models and understanding of the system. A comprehensive integrated ocean carbon observing system (IOCOS) to understand and monitor these changes is within reach in the next decade. Rather than relying on a single approach or parameter, the IOCOS will be composed of an integrated system of ongoing surface and sub-surface observations, modeling, and assessments. This observing element will also rely heavily other parts of the International Ocean Observing System (IOOS). It will include new technology and modeling approaches to quantify carbon fluxes, and inventories in the world’s oceans.

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