Southern Ocean

The influence of chaotic ocean eddies

One of the 44 idealised simulations of the Southern Ocean using Q-GCM, showing the potential vorticity at the ocean surface

Research at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has highlighted the significance of eddies and chaos within the ocean in controlling the response to forcing from climate change. Therefore, it is important that scientists are careful when accounting for these while interpreting ocean observations or computer model forecasts of climate.

‘Mixing it up’ in the Southern Ocean

RRS James Clark Ross

The Southern Ocean encircles Antarctica and plays a key role in controlling the global climate. It is here that ocean currents return from the abyss to the surface, closing the global ocean overturning circulation. This circulation drives the poleward transport of heat, which is critical to the relatively mild weather here in the UK.

Mixing it up: Study provides new insight into Southern Ocean behaviour

‘Drop in the Ocean’

A new study has found that turbulent mixing in the deep waters of the Southern Ocean, which has a profound effect on global ocean circulation and climate, varies with the strength of surface eddies – the ocean equivalent of storms in the atmosphere – and possibly also wind speeds.

News from the Southern Ocean

A drop in the ocean

Scientists in the Southern Ocean have set up a blog – A Drop in the Ocean that details their research into ocean mixing. Dr Katy Sheen, a NOC oceanographer is posting daily reports about life and work onboard the RRS James Clark Ross

Antarctica’s first whale skeleton found with nine new deep-sea species

Backbone of whale skeleton on seafloor (courtesy of NERC)

Marine biologists have, for the first time, found a whale skeleton on the ocean floor near Antarctica, giving new insights into life in the sea depths. The discovery was made almost a mile below the surface in an undersea crater and includes the find of at least nine new species of deep-sea organisms thriving on the bones.

Shimmering water reveals cold volcanic vent in Antarctic waters

Shimmering hydrothermal fluid and relict chimney at Hook Ridge

The location of an underwater volcanic vent, marked by a low-lying plume of shimmering water, has been revealed by scientists at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean

RRS James Clark Ross

An expedition to the icy waters of Antarctica has begun aboard the RRS James Clark Ross. The five-week mission will study the effect of ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean.

Blogging from the Southern Ocean

Preparing the sub-surface profiler

The RRS James Cook is in the Southern Ocean on a 51-day expedition to look at deep water mixing in this turbulent ocean.

Two young scientists aboard, Alex Brearley and Katy Sheen, are running an expedition blog from the ship at

Natural iron fertilisation influences deep-sea ecosystems off the Crozet Islands

David Billett holds a large sea cucumber

Geo-engineering schemes aimed at tackling global warming through artificial iron fertilisation of the oceans would significantly affect deep-sea ecosystems, according to research involving scientists from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) with former Ocean and Earth Science research students of the University of Southampton, also based at the Centre.

15 Feb – East Scotia Ridge expedition blog – week 5

Gravity core being deployed at night off South Georgia

Methane-rich sediments off South Georgia