Caltech researchers Lily Dove and Andrew Thompson, along with their collaborators, have recently published new work highlighting the way in which the oceans exchange heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Using data from freely floating robotic floats and remote sensing measurements, they were able to identify areas of preferential transfer near high energy regions, or regions where undersea mountain ranges disrupt the current to create energetic eddies. The work has implications in understanding how oceans might react to continued increased atmospheric CO2 and temperatures in the future. You can read about the detailed findings in their paper, "Enhanced Ventilation in Energetic Regions of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current."
Identification of Southern Ocean "hotspots" where ventilation, the exchange of heat and carbon between the atmosphere and the deep ocean, occurs at greater rates.
Significance and Impact
The Southern Ocean is a key region for heat and carbon exchange between the ocean and atmosphere. This study identifies key regions where its response to a warming climate will occur first.
- Uses observations from over 20,000 vertical profiles by autonomous floats in the Southern Ocean as well as remote sensing estimates of surface currents.
- Demonstrates that processes on scales of 1-10 km can contribute to heat and dissolved gas exchange.
Dove, Lilian A., Balwada, D., Thompson, A.F., Gray, A.R. "Enhanced ventilation in energetic regions of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current." Geophysical Research Letters 49.13 (2022). https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2021GL097574
Contact: Andrew Thompson