Water mass circulation and ocean acidification in high-latitude oceans and prospects for the Mediterranean Sea

Date: 11 March 2022

Time: 12:15 pm

Speaker: Dra. Maribel I. García-Ibáñez, Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar

Language: English

Link to the talk


The global ocean has mediated the atmospheric CO2 increase derived from human activities by absorbing about 30% of the anthropogenic emissions since the industrial revolution. CO2 enters the surface ocean through air-sea gas exchange and its uptake rate is limited by the upper-ocean-to-interior transport, i.e., the large-scale dynamics that control the ventilation of the interior ocean. Hence, the high-latitude oceans, where deep convective overturning and subduction occur, are the areas of strongest CO2 uptake and deep-ocean CO2 sequestration. Amongst those high-latitude oceans, the North Atlantic is one of the most important CO2 sinks thanks to the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, where the deep-water formation provides the pathway for CO2 into the interior ocean. Here a database analysis is used to study the long-term trends in ocean acidification in the different water masses. I will also discuss the physical and chemical drivers of the ocean acidification and the expected changes for future increases in atmospheric CO2. Finally, I will present my Severo Ochoa postdoctoral project, which focuses on assessing the changes in alkalinity naturally occurring in the Mediterranean Sea and how they affect the ocean acidification signal in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic.

Brief biography

I graduated in Marine Sciences at the University of Vigo in 2011, and I obtained my PhD in Marine Sciences, Technology, and Management at the same university in 2015. My PhD focused on understanding the anthropogenic perturbation in the inorganic carbon cycle in the North Atlantic Ocean. The results of my PhD highlighted the role of the water mass transformation in the relatively fast acidification rates of the intermediate and deep waters of the Subpolar North Atlantic. My work experience includes leakage detection in offshore reservoirs related to carbon capture and storage (CCS), characterization of dyes used to measure seawater pH, exploration of the internal consistency of the measurements of the oceanic carbonate system, characterisation of the processes affecting the carbon uptake in the Southern Ocean and analysis of tipping points for North Atlantic cold-water corals. I am currently a Severo Ochoa Postdoc at Institut de Ciències del Mar. I have also worked at the University of East Anglia (UEA; UK), the University of Delaware (USA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; USA), and Uni Research (Norway). My background includes several transatlantic oceanographic cruises and international research visits at outstanding research centres such as IFREMER (France), BIOS (Bermuda), and the Geophysical Institute (Norway). I am a member of the Scientific Steering Committee Panel of the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP) within the ‘Ocean Interior Observations from ships and autonomous vehicles’ Theme (2021-present). I also collaborate with the Ocean Carbonate System Intercomparison Forum (OCSIF), which advocates for needed research to resolve the internal inconsistencies of the ocean carbonate system data and provide guidance for data product assembly and documentation.

Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), 8 March 2022. More information.

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