The ocean plays a crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, resulting from human activities like burning fossil fuels, cement production, and changing land use, such as deforestation. It takes in about 30% of the CO2 we release. Initially, this CO2 is absorbed at the ocean's surface and then transported to the deep ocean, where it is stored for centuries. In this manner, oceans function as a natural carbon sink, which is crucial in mitigating climate change.
The annual Carbon Outlooks released by the EU-funded 4C project provide an overview of the evolution of the CO2 emissions during the past year, prepared in collaboration with the Global Carbon Project.
The 27th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP27) is held between 6 and 18 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The summit brings together politicians, scientists and civil society to discuss our changing climate and negotiate action for achieving the climate goals set by the Paris Agreement, aiming to limit global warming to well below 2°C.
The Southern Ocean is the largest ocean sink of carbon dioxide released by human activities. The amount of this anthropogenic carbon dioxide that is absorbed by the Southern Ocean remains highly uncertain. Recent research funded by 4C has attempted to reduce this uncertainty.
The ocean is an important carbon sink, taking up CO2 that is released into the atmosphere by anthropogenic activities, such as fossil fuel burning and lang use changes. It is estimated that the ocean takes up about 37% of fossil fuel CO2 emissions.
The evolution of climate change depends on the development of our society, demographics and economics over the next decades. Limiting global warming to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, or preferably to 1.5°C as it is established in the Paris Agreement, would only be possible if we stop emitting greenhouse gases as soon as possible. On the current trajectories, the world is set to warm by around 2.5°C by 2100, and continue upwards thereafter.
The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is hosting its yearly General Assembly on 23-27 May 2022. The conference brings together scientists from the Earth, planetary and space science fields to present and discuss the latest research in their fields, in particular targeting early-career scientists.
A number of 4C researchers are participating in the event, presenting their findings on carbon cycle research and climate predictions. Policy-relevant results that can help reduce uncertainties and move towards a net-zero world are also showcased.
In 2018 and 2019, exceptional dry and hot summers had strong negative impacts on ecosystems and vegetation in central Europe, causing widespread browning and tree mortality events. Extreme dry and hot events like these have become more frequent over the past decades in western and central Europe, a trend that is expected to continue as global mean temperatures rise, posing a major threat to the stability of European forests.
Marine primary production is the foundation of the marine food chain and ocean ecosystems. It primarily occurs via photosynthesis by phytoplankton, which use inorganic carbon and nutrients to produce organic matter.
The 4C Carbon Outlook, released in November 2021, is warning that stronger climate policies are needed to trigger the necessary short-term action to reduce CO2 emissions sufficiently in the coming decade to keep the option for 1.5°C alive.