Diving Robots Discovering Carbon Emissions off Antarctica


A new study that was just published in Geophysical Research Letters shows some unanticipated climate data from the seas around Antarctica. If until the present time the Southern Ocean was believed to be a net absorber of carbon dioxide, we might have a surprise, as it seems that the ocean is not behaving like that all the time.

Measuring the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide

The new data was measured with more than a hundred cylindrical drones that were immersed into the water, whose purpose was to record the acidity data from the waters around Antarctica. The SOCCOM floats have sensors that not only have the capability to take ocean salinity and temperature measurements but can also record extra information, such as how much-dissolved oxygen can be found nearby and what is the content and acidity of nitrogen or pH. The new paper analyzes these pH measurements in order to understand how much-dissolved carbon dioxide can be found in the Southern Ocean’s waters.

The new observations are quite shocking

Derek “Deke” Arndt, who is the chief of the Monitoring Branch for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information, mentioned that most of the data regarding the chemistry of the ocean comes from the SOCCOM floats, after an activity of four years.

Jorge Sarmiento, SOCCOM director and Princeton geoscientist, stated that the conclusions of this study are completely different than previous studies. What was found is definitely worrying and somehow puzzling, as the findings suggest that scientists did not estimate correctly the abilities of the Southern Ocean to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Alison Gray, the lead author of the study, was also extremely surprised by the findings of the robots, as previous research showed that the ocean was in fact absorbing a big amount of carbon dioxide.


Recommended For You

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *