The global ocean sink of anthropogenic carbon

Seminar by Dr. Eunyoung Kwon as a candidate for ICCP faculty recruitment from IBS Center for Climate Physics

30 May 2024
KST 13:20 – 14:20

The Seminar is being held in Room 1010 (Jasmin) – Integrated mechanical engineering building. Click here for the campus map.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 50% since the preindustrial era. The excess carbon that has accumulated in the atmosphere constitutes about 40% of the total carbon emitted by human activity, which is called anthropogenic carbon. The remaining 60% of total anthropogenic carbon has been absorbed by either the ocean or the land biosphere. In this lecture, we will learn about the magnitude and processes by which the global ocean absorbs anthropogenic carbon. Special emphases will be given to two approaches that scientists have used to constrain the present-day distribution of anthropogenic carbon in the global ocean – one using observed ocean tracers and the other using a numerical model of global ocean circulation. Both approaches indicate that the global ocean has been a sink for anthropogenic carbon by about 30%. The surface oceanic distribution of anthropogenic carbon results from the air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide and the carbonate chemistry in seawater, while the subsurface distribution is primarily determined by intermediate and deep water formation and transport. The invasion of anthropogenic carbon into the global ocean makes the seawater less basic, which can have detrimental effects on calcifying marine organisms. The 20-minute-long lecture will be followed by a presentation of my research plans concerning interactions between climate change, biogeochemical cycles, and marine life.