Studying ocean acidification from space – Grantham seminar, 4 November 2015, South Kensington Campus

A Grantham Seminar by Dr Peter Land, Plymouth Marine Lab

Date: 04 Nov 2015
Time: 16:00 – 17:00
Venue: Grantham Institute Boardroom
Campus: South Kensington Campus

Event type: Seminar
Audience: Open to all
Ticket: First come first served

Contact: Gosia Gayer

Aim of the seminar

Oceans have taken up 30% of manmade CO2 emissions, but this is causing them to become increasingly acidic. In this seminar, Dr Land will highlight the role that space based observations could play in monitoring  ocean acidification and investigating the processes underlying it on a global scale.

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, humans have released approximately 500 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, cement production and land-use changes. About 30% of this carbon dioxide has been taken up (or absorbed) by the oceans. The oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide leads to a change in marine carbonate chemistry resulting in a decrease of seawater pH and carbonate ion concentration, a situation that is commonly called ‘Ocean Acidification’ (OA).

To date, the majority of scientific studies into the potential impacts of OA and efforts for monitoring the effects of OA have focused on the use of models and in situ studies (such as buoys, research cruises and lab or field based mesocosm studies). The international community through the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) has highlighted the need to utilise space-based observations. Space observations from satellite Earth observation (EO) have yet to be fully exploited and could play an important role in this area of science through providing quasi-synoptic, reproducible and well-calibrated measurements for investigating processes on global scales.

The recent advancement of space-based salinity observations will unlock the potential for satellite-based carbonate system monitoring. The European Space Agency (ESA) Pathfinders-OA project ( is now investigating the role that satellite Earth Observation can play in supporting and expanding OA research. The project is exploiting satellite observed salinity data from ESA Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and NASA Aquarius, along with data from other international satellite sensors, interpolated in situ observations and carbonate system models.

These data sources are used as inputs to empirical algorithms for carbonate system parameters, with the goal of estimating pH and aragonite saturation state, which are key parameters for studying ocean acidification.


Peter Land is a Remote Sensing researcher at Plymouth Marine Lab with an interest in the climate impacts of radiatively active gases. He started his research career at the Met. Office, going on to complete a PhD in planetary remote sensing at Imperial. This was followed by postdoctoral ocean colour research at Imperial, Stockholm University and Plymouth Marine Lab. Dr Land still works on ocean colour, but in the last few years has broadened his research to includeremote sensing of the fluxes and impacts of radiatively active gases such as CO2 and DMS.


Gosia Gayer, g.gayer(at)

More information on the seminar.

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: