Blog: The start of a major new research project

The start of a major new research project…by Carol Arrowsmith of the British Geological Survey

A major new project to investigate how heat and carbon is transferred around the oceans kicked off in April. Here Carol Arrowsmith, a senior technician with the Stable Isotope Facility at the British Geological Survey (BGS) tells us how the BGS are contributing to this important research……..

After years of planning, NERC commissioned several highly ambitious research programmes that required its Research Centres to work together to tackle several major scientific and societal challenges. One of these is a programme called “Ocean Regulation of Climate through Heat and carbon Sequestration and Transports” or ORCHESTRA involves the BGS, and in particular me as one of the major analysts. We aim to use a long term survey, together with computer simulations, to improve our ability to understand and predict the role of the Southern Ocean currents to modulate global climate.

Carol trying out a snowmobile at the British Antarctic Survey.

My particular contribution to this research is the analysis of the oxygen and carbon isotope composition of the ocean waters along several transects from the Atlantic equator to the ocean around Antarctica. The data I will produce will help us trace marine currents and see where carbon is either absorbed by the ocean or is expelled. This is particularly important due to current increases in atmospheric CO2.

At a recent meeting at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge I collected the first 1000 samples and the data production is underway. The further 14000 samples collected over the next 5 years will keep me busy! I look forward to seeing the first data and will provide regular updates on our discoveries about how heat and carbon moves around the oceans.

 

The mass spectrometer used for measuring oxygen and carbon isotopes from marine water samples in order to investigate the transport of heat and carbon around global oceans.

The ORCHESTRA programme is led by Dr Emily Shuckburgh (British Antarctic Survey) in partnership with several NERC Centres including the BGS.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: