Coastal and Open Ocean Processes | CCMAR

Coastal and Open Ocean Processes

In association to global climate change, the ocean is absorbing heat and CO2 from the atmosphere. As a result, the Sea Surface Temperature is increasing, surface ocean circulation is changing, sea-level is rising and decreasing pH levels are leading to ocean acidification. To better understand and prepare for future conditions, we need to have the best possible knowledge of the behavior of the climate system (of which the ocean is one of the most important subsystems) under natural conditions.

CCMAR researchers aim to understand the physical, chemical and biologic processes that occur both near the coast and in the open ocean, and their interactions. This is achieved by monitoring, interpreting and modelling the physical circulation, the organisms’ abundance and distribution and the amount and distribution of chemical elements that are important for life in the ocean.

Adding to this body of knowledge, we work towards the reconstruction of past oceanic processes and climate conditions, so as to provide past environmental relevant parameters values, uncertainties and limitations for interpreting modern climate patterns and modeling future conditions. This is particularly important given that existing instrumental data cover a very short time-span, 200 years at most and from a small number of very localized positions in Europe, which is not enough, nor does it cover a period not influenced by human activity.

Our research also focuses on carbon and other bio-elemental cycles that interplay with coastal and open ocean processes and constitute key players of global climate change. By linking ecophysiology, environmental drivers and ecosystem processes, our researchers aim to understand how metabolic processes may offset the carbon sequestration service of blue carbon ecosystems.

Finally, there are specific ecosystems that strongly contribute to climate regulation and to maintain the balance of carbon and other bio-elemental cycles. Our researchers aim to characterize the ecosystem functions and services provided by coastal systems and their responses to human pressures, while also calculating their economic value and simulating management scenarios.

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