Processes Influencing Carbon Cycling: Observations of the Lower limb of the Antarctic Overturning (PICCOLO)
Principal Investigator: Prof Karen Heywood, University of East Anglia
Co-PI: Tom Bell, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
This PICCOLO proposal has been prepared in response to the NERC Announcement of Opportunity issued on 7th October 2016 for research under a new targeted strategic programme on the Role of the Southern Ocean in the Earth System (RoSES).
The overarching objective of the RoSES research programme is to provide the scientific basis to inform international climate policy on the role of the Southern Ocean carbon system in 21st century global climate change. We propose to build on the large-scale, physics-focussed NERC National Capability programme ORCHESTRA, by focussing on the biological and biogeochemical components of the Southern Ocean system.
PICCOLO addresses RoSES Challenge 2. Our goal is to quantify the crucial processes that determine carbon cycling in the lower limb of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation, with two deliverables:
(i) Definition and quantification of the key processes controlling the rate of carbon uptake in the lower limb of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation;
(ii) Mechanistic understanding of those key processes, and a roadmap for their parameterisation in climate-scale models.
The specific objectives of PICCOLO are to:
(i) Obtain first-of-a-kind, systematic, year-round measurements of the processes controlling the rate of carbon uptake in the lower limb of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation;
(ii) Use these observations to define the key processes that must be correctly characterised in models of the SO carbon system, quantify their contribution to the system’s efficiency, and assess how models must represent their mechanistic operation.