Ocean Action Hub

One of the major expectations from the Decade is a predicted ocean that relies on the integration of comprehensive modeling and sustainable ocean observing systems. Specific to climate change and ocean carbon, the Implementation Plan contains dedicated Ocean Decade Challenge 5: “Enhance understanding of the ocean-climate nexus and use this understanding to generate solutions to mitigate, adapt and build resilience to the effects of climate change, and to improve services including improved predictions and forecasts for weather, climate, and the ocean.”

The IOC-R addresses key issues in ocean carbon research through a combined strategy of research and observational goals. The research will be framed by four key questions that were formulated at the inaugural Expert Workshop on Integrated Ocean Carbon Research at IOC-UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) headquarters in Paris, France on October 28-30, 2019. The overarching questions that will be addressed by the IOC-R effort are:

  • Will the ocean uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) continue as primarily an abioticaprocess?
  • What is the role of biology in the ocean carbon cycle, and how is it changing?
  • What are the exchanges of carbon between the land-ocean-ice continuum and how are they evolving over time?
  • How are humans altering the ocean carbon cycle and resulting feedbacks, including possible purposeful carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere?

The IOC-R was formed through a collaboration of several international programmes that include ocean carbon research in their purview. Each of the programmes, shown in Figure 1, addresses some of the key societal and environmental issues of the Decade’s Implementation Plan, including those related to the ocean carbon cycle. By drawing on the diverse perspectives and expertise of these programmes in an integrative way, the emerging issues and cutting-edge approaches in observations, research, and modeling will effectively be addressed. Broadly speaking, the emerging issues related to carbon that are of paramount importance to our environment and society can be categorized as:

  • The ocean as a [changing] sink for human-produced CO2 and its climate change mitigation capacity.
  • The vulnerability of ocean ecosystems to increasing CO2 levels and our ability and need to adapt to changing ocean conditions. 

Read the full article here: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000376708.locale=en 

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Wanninkhof, Rik, Sabine, Christopher, Arico, Salvatore