Emerging applications of longstanding autonomous ocean carbon observations

NOAA Ship Fairweather and National Data Buoy Center Station 46041 deployed off Cape Elizabeth, Washington. The weather buoy has been measuring air-sea CO2 since 2006. Photo credit: Richard Feely

For over two decades, NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) has been developing and deploying autonomous ocean carbon measurement technologies. PMEL currently maintains a network of air-sea CO2 and ocean acidification time-series measurements on 33 surface buoys, including the world’s longest record of air-sea CO2 measured from a buoy. These sites are located in every ocean basin and in a variety of ecosystems, from coastal to open ocean and subpolar to tropical. The network provides more than half of today’s ocean carbonate chemistry time-​series records that qualify as long-term, publicly available, and collected at subseasonal timescales. Here, we briefly review the motivation for establishing the network, the research and applications made possible from the observations, and how sustained autonomous time series generate unique information about a changing ocean needed to inform mitigation and adaptation approaches in a changing world.

Sutton A. J. & Sabine C. L., 2023. Emerging applications of longstanding autonomous ocean carbon observations. Oceanography 36(2–3): 148–155. Article.

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