August 18, 2021 | Published by | ,

Supervisor: Dr Nina Ridder (n.ridder@unsw.edu.au)

The ocean is the biggest carbon storage in the ocean containing roughly 93% of all exchangeable carbon in the Earth system. Carbon uptake by the ocean is a major way of removing anthropogenically released carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. This uptake is closely linked to the removal of carbon from the surface ocean and transferring it into the deep ocean via different pathways, also referred to as carbon pumps. These pumps are particularly sensitive to changes in momentum exchange between atmosphere and ocean (i.e. surface winds) as well as ocean properties like temperature, salinity, and stratification.

 The student will work with model output from Earth System Models participating in the sixth round of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) to assess how a gradual increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (1%/year from pre-industrial to 4 x pre-industrial CO2 levels) impacts carbon uptake and storage in the global ocean. The following questions will be addressed:

  • How does this increase impact carbon storage in the ocean?
  • How do the different mechanisms governing the marine carbon pumps, e.g. ocean temperature, stratification, surface winds, and nutrient structure, change over time?
  • What impact does this have on the different carbon pumps?

Together with a partner project this project will test the reversibility of carbon emissions by applying carbon dioxide removal technology in terms of the marine system.

Requirements: Some prior programming experience (e.g. Python, Ferret, MATLAB, R, etc.) or a willingness to learn.

Project period: Summer.

To apply: the Undergraduate Scholarship application form can be found here