There is a growing need for evermore accurate climatic models to predict future climate change and the impact this will have on human settlement, the insurance industry, fisheries, agriculture and nature at large.
Long term observations at fixed points in the open oceans are essential to provide high quality and high resolution data to increase our knowledge of how our oceans function, how they are changing and how this may impact on the climate.
Why was the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (PAP) chosen as a location?
The PAP site lies in the Northeast Atlantic ff the southwest coast of Ireland. There are several advantages to the PAP location which make it an ideal locality for an open ocean observatory.
A true open ocean site: It is as far as possible from the continental slope and the mid-Atlantic ridge reducing the effects of downslope sediment transport and the influence of the continental shelf.
Flat seabed: This facilitates a variety of types of benthic sampling and reduces spatial heterogeneity.
Proximity to European ports despite being a remote abyssal location. This is advantageous for maintaining the mooring.
Low water column current speeds: This reduces the effects of advection.
CO2: This site displays a relatively high uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere which is relevant to issues of global climate change.