Ocean Component

Every year the ocean absorbs about a quarter of our CO2  emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production and helps slow down climate change. The magnitude of this sink needs to be monitored closely; this helps understanding its sensitivity to climate variations and change, constraining estimates of the other components of the carbon budget and can provide early warnings of any loss of sink efficiency.

ICOS Norway Ocean is the Norwegian component of the European and Global observing network for surface ocean CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) measurements. These data are used to determine the air-sea CO2 exchange and the magnitude of ocean uptake of man-made CO2. Currently, autonomous instruments for pCO2 measurements are installed onboard 4 vessels that operate in the northern North Atlantic (Tukuma Arctica) , Nordic Seas (G.O. Sars), North Sea (Sea Cargo Express) and Arctic Ocean (Kronprins Haakon). Installations onboard a coastal steamer (Richard With) is being performed over the summer 2023.

The European and Global networks, of which we are a part, are, besides  ICOS, the IOCCP (International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project). All of the data that are collected are synthesised annually into SOCAT (Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas). These data contribute to the Global Carbon Budget (e.g. Friedlingstein et al., 2022) and are also used to determine rates of ocean acidification (e.g. Lauvset et al., 2015). 

The Ocean Thematic Centre ( OTC), which is the ocean service centre of ICOS, helps with e.g., data QC and storage, training workshops, intercalibration experiments, and provision of reference gases.




Schematic setup of a CO2 measurement system on a ship, here on Tukuma Arctica.

This picture shows the basic setup of a CO2 measurement system on one of our ships, here Tukuma Arctica as an example. The main part of the instrumentation is located underneath the water surface, close to the seawater intake. On research vessels the system is usuallt installed in a separate wet lab, while on the commercial vessels the system is built into the engine room. From here, a long pipe was drawn to the atmosphere intake at the bow of the ship. The deck unit has an electronic connection to the control unit and is recording the position and the outside air pressure. 


Contact person: Are Olsen (are.olsen@uib.no)