Chief scientist: Ingunn Skjelvan
R/V G.O.Sars, named after the Norwegian marine biologist Georg Ossian Sars, operates the Nordic Seas including the Barents Sea and the North Sea, and thus, crosses all kind of water characteristics. The ship is owned by the Marine Research Institute in Bergen, Norway, and has since 2003 been equipped with an automatic pCO2 measuring system which continuously monitoring pCO2 in the surface water and the atmosphere. In addition, dissolved oxygen and hydrography are determined.
The Nordic Seas are important mixing areas of waters coming from the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, and in this area we find one of the major sources of deep water formation. The seas are crucial as spawning and feeding areas for a variety of marine species and also an important areas for the fisheries.
An improved knowledge of the physical, biological and chemical processes in the area widens our understanding of how and how fast the climate is changing. One of the processes we are interested in is ocean acidification, which is the result of increased ocean uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere. Furthermore, we examine how much manmade CO2 is absorbed in the Nordic Seas, and how this is distributed between the different areas.
In the colored maps to the left, the red color indicate a sea surface pCO2 which is high and likely in equilibrium with the atmosphere. During spring, when the blooming season starts, and summer, when biological production is high, inorganic carbon is fixed into organic material through photosynthesis. As a consequence of this, pCO2 is decreasing, seen as green and blue colours in the maps above. In fall, remineralized organic material is mixed into the surface layer and the pCO2 values are gradually approaching winter levels.
The map below shows the current location of the ship.