The long-term enhancement of carbon storage in the oceans by iron fertilization of marine plants depends on knowledge of the vertical transports from surface waters and remineralization behavior at depth, of the carbon and associated macro- and micro-nutrients originally fixed at the surface. Because of the dependence on ships for upper ocean carbon flux measurement, few data are available on carbon flux and remineralization behavior within the upper kilometer of the ocean where such observations are required; furthermore, most previous observations are representative only of tropical or summer time conditions.
We propose to overcome this limitation by developing a prototype optical sediment trap system designed to record autonomously the high frequency (hours to days) variations of organic and inorganic carbon flux within the upper 1.5 kilometers of the ocean. Such a device would be capa- ble of operation over seasonal time scales and be inexpensive enough to be deployed in sufficient numbers on profiling floats. Such devices would permit observation of the aftermath of ocean fer- tilization experiments and to provide here-to-fore unavailable data on the variability of upper ocean carbon flux in remote and biologically dynamic ocean regions. Such data are required for the evaluation of ocean fertilization as a carbon sequestration option and for better model simulations of the ocean carbon cycle.
The proposed work draws on the oceanographic talent and field experience of the Earth Sciences Division and on the demonstrated expertise in microelectronics, imaging and systems engineering of the Engineering Sciences Division at LBNL.References:
Support: Department of Energy Office of Science
Related project Project ARGO