Marine carbon sources and sinks assessment

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Core theme 3: Carbon uptake and release at European regionale scale

Leader: Helmuth Thomas (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada)


This theme is designed as a novel pilot study towards integration and reconciliation of marine,
land and atmospheric assessments of Carbon (read CO2) sources and sinks in two key West-
European regions, the North Sea region and the West Mediterranean region. Both seas bridge the
European continent, atmosphere and Atlantic Ocean, hence play a crucial role in the West-
European (marine) carbon balance. Theme 3 extends from an ongoing North Sea study, and an
ongoing time series in the West Mediterranean Sea. The overarching aim is a closed carbon
budget for Western Europe comprising all terrestrial, atmospheric and marine compartments.
The joint venture with CarboEurope IP (which covers the partial budgets of the atmosphere and
the land) will for the first time ever allow the CARBOOCEAN IP to quantify all relevant fluxes
between sea, land and air comprehensively. In this first ever integrated approach, Western
Europe is the first case being studied. Policy makers and international organisations will be
provided with knowledge on mitigation strategies and estimates on carbon emission scenario and
their socio-economic impacts.


O3.1 To constrain the marine and terrestrial European carbon balance relying on CO2 data from
surface waters and marine air (CO2, also CO, 13C, O2/N2) at 1 site in the North Sea and from
cruises in NW Mediterranean Sea.
O3.2 To understand seasonal variability of the pCO2 in the North Sea employing a N-S VOS line
crossing the transition from the shallow one-layer southern North Sea to the deep two-layer
northern North Sea characterised by strong seasonal gradients.
O3.3 To establish North Sea carbon budgets and their decadal variability based on the preceding
2001-2002 field dataset and two new CARBOOCEAN IP research cruises.
O3.4 To understand seasonal pCO2 variability in the NW Mediterranean Sea by extended and
continued sampling in the Gulf du Lyon and at the DYFAMED time series station.
O3.5 To establish the carbon budget of the NW Mediterranean Sea by cruises and by
quantification of carbon exchanges.

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