Baltic Sea carbon cycle


We know that the levels of carbon dioxide are increasing in the atmosphere, see e.g. http://gaw.kishou.go.jp/wdcgg.html and figure 1. We also know that the flux of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the ocean is much controlled by processes in the ocean. The carbon dioxide dissolves and reacts chemically with water and affects the ocean properties. The carbon dioxide in the water is also the major component in plankton production. What we are interested in is what the consequences are for the Baltic Sea and whether this region functions as a sink or a source for carbon and what will happen in the future? The carbon cycle involves many processes within different disciplines, see figure 2. A multi-disciplinary study like this is hence dependent on cooperation between fields of interests.

 

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Figure 1. CO2 levels in the atmosphere at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

 

Box model. We are together with scientists from Marine Chemistry developing a box model for the Baltic Sea. The purpose of the model is to see what alkalinity can learn us about the Baltic Sea. We know there are great gradients in both salinity and alkalinity lengthwise in the Baltic with increasing properties from north to south. Alkalinity is one important property when considering the carbon cycle due to its buffering capacity.

 

CO2 Field experiment 2006. In April 2006 we will perform a field experiment outside Gotland in the Baltic Sea. This is a joint expedition together with scientists from Marine Chemistry in Göteborg and Meteorology in Uppsala among others. We will measure pCO2 in both the atmosphere as the ocean and also measure parameters important for the carbon dynamics such as pH, alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon.

 

Process-oriented modelling. The interaction between physical processes (stratification, temperature, salinity, sun-penetration, ice), chemical processes (alkalinity, PH, dissolved inorganic carbon) and biological production (oxygen, nutrients, dissolved organic carbon) are analysed by using process-oriented coupled modelling tools in close connection to data analysis. We aim to build coupled biogeochemical models for the Baltic Sea and use these as tools for studies on past, present and future climate conditions.

 

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Figure 1. A principal sketch on some of the basic processes in the ocean carbon cycle..

 


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