25 October 2021

Arctic Ocean

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    We go to the ends of the Earth to monitor the world’s climate and understand how it is changing. 

    Studying the world’s climate is, by its very nature, collaborative and international and, Thinking Without Borders, we work with our partners to collect samples and data from land, sea and air.

    One such collaboration saw PhD student Elise Droste join the largest polar expedition in history in 2020. As part of the year-long MOSAiC expedition, an interdisciplinary team of scientists from 20 countries spent months at a time in the Arctic Ocean taking the closest ever look at the ‘epicentre of global warming.’ Together they studied the ocean, sea ice and atmosphere, and measured the ecology and biogeochemistry of all three.

    Elise went on this historic expedition to measure the Arctic Ocean’s capacity for absorbing carbon, and understand how this will change as a result of global warming. Taking samples from sea level to a depth of 4,000 metres, Elise’s research aims to understand how the air-ice-sea CO2 exchange changes throughout the seasons, and what drivers affect the variability and trends in marine CO2 uptake. 

    Oceans, particularly polar oceans, play an important role in sustaining the natural balance. They absorb a lot of CO2, but the amount and rate at which they absorb greenhouse gases is not constant in time or space. Meanwhile, the oceans are acidifying and their capacity to absorb CO2. is changing. Elise’s research, just one example of the pioneering climate research happening at UEA, will help us understand how the excess accumulation of carbon dioxide caused by human activity will affect one of our most precious ecosystems – and impact climate change. 

    Our perspectives

    “It’s important that we’re able to accurately quantify the capacity of the polar oceans to take up CO2 and predict how it will change. This will help us understand what our climate will look like in the future and what the effect will be on ecology, biodiversity, and the human population.” – Elise Droste, UEA PhD student in the School of Environmental Sciences 

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