Our research in this area is important in several areas of marine science. We need to know more about the oceans impact on climate and sea level.
Climate and sea level
The oceans both moderate and drive climate change. Global warming is leading to the warming of the oceans. As the oceans warm they expand, manifested as a rise in sea level. However, both the warming, and hence sea level rise, is not happening uniformly across the oceans. Indeed, it is the polar regions that are warming the greatest leading to the melt of ice sheets which in turn will create sea level rise somewhere. Our oceans are also absorbing ever increasing amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels. When carbon dioxide is dissolved in sea water the oceans become more acidic threatening the life cycle of certain important marine ecosystems.
The NOC carries out a range of sustained ocean observations to understand how the oceans are responding to climate change. Ocean circulation and ecosystem models, validated using our ocean observations, are developed at NOC to predict how the oceans will change over the next few decades to centuries.
Projects and collaborations
NOC scientists contribute to the United Nations Intergovermental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports. The RAPID -Watch project is carried out in partnership with scientsist from Canada, Germany, Spain and the USA.