Oceans absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide and the Southern Ocean between Australia and Antarctica plays the greatest role of all the world’s oceans, scientists say.
The problem is there is no permanent monitoring of the Southern Ocean because of its wild seas and remoteness and scientists cannot accurately determine how a warming world is affecting the amount of CO2 the ocean is absorbing.
So marine scientists based in the southern Australian state of Tasmania sail on Friday to test two newly designed ocean moorings to see if they can withstand the pounding of 20-meter (70 feet) seas to send back data over many months.
“The oceans are protecting us from climate warming by absorbing our CO2 out of the atmosphere. Most of that is happening in the Southern Ocean,” said Tom Trull, leader of the Ocean Control of CO2 Program at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center in Hobart.
“We don’t know if that’ll continue and we’re concerned it might not. This equipment will help us find out,” he said on Wednesday.