The oceans store our green house gases – now Leonie will find out exactly how

2020-11-27

Congratulations Leonie! 4 million SEK kronor from Formas to the project "Where the sky touches the Ocean”. 

sea
The ocean dissolves the CO2 it in the surface water, thereby increasing the carbon content there.

Leonie will use a new method to find out more about how the sea works as a storage for our green house gases. She will also research the processes surrounding the absorption of CO2, something that will be useful for researchers making climate models for the future.

Leonie Esters, researcher
Leonie Esters, researcher in Meteorology at the Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University.

How important are the oceans when it comes to climate and greenhouse gases?
- The oceans are very important for our climate, because globally they form one of the largest sinks for atmospheric carbon. This means they take up greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Without the oceans the levels of CO2 would be higher than today and man-made climate change would be correspondingly stronger. But in order to know how much greenhouse gases are taken up by the oceans, we need to understand the processes involved, and that is what this project will investigate.

How can the ocean store CO2?
- The ocean dissolves the CO2 it in the surface water, thereby increasing the carbon content there. Then, after a while, the ocean currents transport the CO2 from the surface deeper into the ocean, where the the carbon accumulates.

Are the seas becoming polluted then, instead of the air?
- Yes, the oceans get polluted. This carbon pollution is changing the ocean's chemistry and making them more acidic. This ocean acidification can harm for example shellfishes or corals.

What do you hope to achieve?
- With this formas project, I hope to investigate uncertainties regarding the exchange processes of green house gases between the atmosphere and the ocean; in particular in coastal areas. This will allow to improve air-sea carbon flux estimates in regions like the Baltic Sea. Personally, I'm really excited to use different measurement and analysis methods to archive these goals.

This is a mobility grant, what does this mean?
Yes, it is one of the Formas´ mobility grant for early career researchers. This means that it promotes moving between different research environments. In my case, the project is a collaboration between Uppsala University, the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany, and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain, where my main employment will be in the Meteorology research group at Uppsala University. 

För mer information om projektet: kontakta Leonie Esters, forskare.
leonie.esters@geo.uu.se
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