Search Results for Tag: IFM-Geomar
Arctic CO2 hits alarming levels
Worrying news from scientists in the USA monitoring the global CO2 concentration. NOAA (The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) says for the first time ever, more than 400ppm (parts per million) have been measured in the atmosphere in the Arctic. This is a very worrying development. Jim Butler, who’s in charge of global monitoring at NOAA, says this should be a reminder to everybody that we are in deep trouble. CO2 concentration has been rising increasingly fast. 350 ppm is the figure many scientists say is the highest the earth can go without being in danger from drastic climate change.
So far, it’s only the Arctic – which is heating up around twice as fast as the rest of the planet – where the 400pm mark has been reached. The average is around 395ppm for the rest of the world. But the NOAA researchers – not known for exaggeration I’d say – say the 400 mark will be reached in just a few years.
Bearing in mind the lack of progress in international negotiations, with a report recently published indicating we’re heading for a 3.5 degree C rise in global temperature, way above the 2° target set by the international community, it’s hard to see how we are going to turn this around. And, as Professor Mojib Latif, one of the IPCC lead authors and a renowned meteorologist and climate expert, reminded me just last week, even those 2° would be a major challenge and unprecendented for the earth.
DateJune 1, 2012 | 2:04 pm
Gulf stream heating up
Scientists have observed that the Gulf Steam has been heating up two to three times as fast as the rest of the Atlantic over the last 100 years. Professor Martin Visbeck from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, says the Gulf Stream, which accounts for the relatively mild climate of north-western Europe, has become around 1.2°C warmer since 1900 compared with a 0.4 degree rise in the Atlantic as a whole. The trend is similar with other important streams off the coasts of Japan, Australia, Brazil and southern Africa.
The scientists say the enhanced warming could reduce the ability of the oceans to absorb carbon dioxide as warmer water absorbs less than cold water. They stress the need for more data and continuous measurement, but Visbeck says the results indicate that climate change is changing global ocean circulation. More in the journal Nature Climate Change.
DateFebruary 2, 2012 | 12:38 pm
Mission accomplished – data worrying. The Arctic ocean acidification project
I have just heard that the experiment I reported on from Svalbard has been concluded. A press release from Greenpeace quotes Professor Ulf Riebesell from the IFM-GEOMAR Kiel Uni ocean acidification project as saying the experiment was a success.
(I took this pic of Prof. Riebesell watching the deployment of the mesocosms last month, see earlier posts).
That doesn’t mean the news is good:
“Not only do we now have the most comprehensive data set ever on the impacts of ocean acidification in Arctic waters, we have also learned from this experiment that ocean acidification in these waters has a definite impact on the base of the food web, which can have implications for the entire ecosystem.” says Prof. Ulf.
“If we keep emitting CO2 at the current rate, marine organisms will experience changes in ocean acidity beyond anything they have experienced in the last 20 million years of their evolutionary history.”
Worrying times indeed.
DateJuly 13, 2010 | 10:53 am
All systems go for the world’s biggest ocean acidification test
Today was a big day all round, and it started grey and snowy, with feelings of tense anticipation. For the scientists, it’s the next step towards the work they’ve put so much effort into over the last up to four years. If the mesocosms can be put in place successfully, they can lower the sacks and close them up to start the world’s biggest experiment on ocean acidification. If not, they’re in a bad way.
For the Greenpeace team, it’s time to put the giant testtubes they’ve carefully brought up to the Arctic from Kiel in Germany into the water, the fruition of their work with the scientist team. It’s a premiere all round. Not only is it a new and large-scale experiment, it’s a premiere in terms of Greenpeace and an official science body working together. As Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace climate campaigner from Germany and Professor Ulf Riebesell explained to me, the memorandum of understanding stipulates clearly who does what. The scientists are independent, doing their own work, grateful to Greenpeace for providing the boat without which none of this could have happened. Greenpeace is responsible for the logistics and helping because they want the data on the effects of ocean acidification on Arctic ocean ecosystems and organisms to be collected. Everybody stresses there are no foregone conclusions. Lab tests have indicated calcifying organisms are likely to suffer badly, but only this bigger experiment will give an indication of how whole systems react.
Let me give you the rest of the day in pictures.
The crew on the Esperanza were up bright and breezy and ready to start loading the mesocosms from the quay onto the boat at 8. Well you can’t say crack of dawn, since it’s light all night.
The scientists were down to keep an eye on operations
and IFM Geomar engineer Detlef Hoffmann, who seems to me to have been spending his life going up and down in the lift fixing up the mesocosms was back in place.
One by one, the first 3 mesocosms were lifted onto the Esperanza.
Professor Ulf, who’s coordinated the experiment, and Klaus, who designed the mesocosms, watch anxiously from the deck of the Esperanza.
At the deployment site, number one goes over, steady as she goes…
In the scientists\’s boat, Prof. Jean Pierre, the EPOCA coordinator,keeps an anxious eye.
The IFM technical experts in the dinghy do the necessary to affix the equipment.
Having “suited up” and gone into one of the Greenpeace dinghy, I’m able to follow the next “mesocosm overboard” operation from the water, looking up to the Esperanza.
The Greenpeace communications team are busy documenting this slightly different “campaign”.
Down she goes…
Well met, IFM Geomar.
Ulf has got on his survival gear and come down to check it out for himself.
And Greenpeace climate campaigner Martin Kaiser, on board the Esperanza, can be happy with the results so far.
DateJune 1, 2010 | 7:52 pm
Out in the Kongsfjord
Before I go any further:
Professor Jean-Pierre Gattuso, the coordinator of the whole EPOCA project, (see last blog post) has drawn my attention to the websites for the EPOCA project and suggested Ice Blog readers might like a look, so here they are. Thanks Jean-Pierre:
European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) blog
EPOCA Svalbard 2010 Blog
Sunday afternoon: the plan is to deploy the mesocosms in the fjord Monday morning if the weather remains stable. So Sebastian Krug from IFM Geomar, who is responsible for the logistics of the deployment, took some of his colleagues out in a boat with a remote-controlled underwater camera
this afternoon to check the anchors which have been put down to hold the floating test-tube constructions and make sure the lines coming up are not tangled and everything is where it should be. I was able to join them.
We need survival suits for this as the water is around freezing point. Everybody gets a briefing on the dangers of hypothermia up here, which sets in very quickly if you fall into the water without a suit, and nobody takes any chances.
Sebastian’s colleagues Andrea Ludwig, Sine Klaasen and Kai Schulz from IFM Geomar, the Kiel University marine science institute that’s managing all this, are also doing test runs with their equipment to take water samples and transport them back to the world’s most northerly marine lab in the base at Ny Alesund. They will be doing this with samples from the mesocosms regularly, once they’re in place and have been “dosed” with the required doses of CO2, a different amount in each mesocosm to simulate, in situ, what would happen if the ocean acidifies to a particular amount, according to the different IPCC scenarios, depending on how much CO2 we continue to emit in the coming decades. Kai is responsible for adding the CO2.
It started off as a grey day with snowflakes, but the sun came out surprisingly in between. The weather changes quickly and frequently here in the Arctic. You have to make the best of every sunray.
(View back to Ny Alesund)
Meike Nikolai is the communications officer from IFM Geomar. She’s documenting all of this for the institute’s records and website. She took this photo.
We got close up to this iceberg in the fjord. Hoping it and its colleagues will keep a safe distance from the mesocosms site.
Our little friend did his work underwater.
He makes some interesting blubbering and spitting sounds as he goes down (which you’ll hear when you tune into the radio stories on this project some time in the not too distant future! Keep an eye on the DW website and Living Planet
DW Environment web page
Nathan (Living Planet host), I hope you have plenty of space for this one, it’s a very exciting project.
The anchors are looking good, so weather and ice permitting, it’s full speed ahead for deployment on Monday morning. The scientists are getting excited, some nervous. They’ve been working for several years preparing this and it is the first of its kind. The crew on the Greenpeace boat are also excited about it all. They are playing a key role in getting this world premiere on the stage.
DateJune 1, 2010 | 9:28 am