Ocean models are important because the ocean acts as a buffer for climate change. It does this by absorbing heat and carbon dioxide associated with human activities.
Ocean models are a useful tool to study the ocean and to understand how it is changing.
Understanding ocean circulation around Antarctica is critical to understanding global sea level rise and the 3-dimensional circulation of the global ocean.
Unfortunately, observations of this very remote region are limited. Ocean models are therefore a crucial tool to systematically study the ocean around Antarctica.
Why the ocean matters
The ocean stores 97% of the total surface water on the planet and is a big reservoir for heat and carbon.
At the surface, the ocean is in contact with the atmosphere and exchanges heat, moisture, and gases. During winter in the high latitudes, the ocean freezes at the surface forming sea ice which reflects light and provides a habitat for species such as algae as well as mammals.
The ocean mitigates anthropogenic climate change by storing almost all (93%) of the additional warming from the greenhouse gas effect over the last 50 years and by absorbing almost a third (30%) of human carbon dioxide emissions.
Briefing: Climate modelling – an overview
Briefing: A closer look at climate modelling