Pathways and Emissions of climate-relevant TRace gases in a changing Arctic Ocean (PETRA)

Lead Research Organisation: Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Department Name: Plymouth Marine Lab

Abstract

The Arctic Ocean is exceptionally susceptible to climate change. Recent studies have shown that surface seawater is warming faster than in other oceans. In addition, atmospheric CO2 dissolution in seawater is causing Ocean Acidification (OA). The documented retreat of sea-ice will increase light penetration, including UV. These environmental parameters (temperature, OA and UV) are highly likely to act as stressors and alter the Arctic Ocean ecosystem structure and function which in turn will feed back on climate. One such feedback is the cycling of climatically active trace gases and their emission to the atmosphere (here: CH4, N2O, DMS, CO). These trace gases are rapidly produced and consumed by a number of physical and biological processes. For example, the biggest source of CO in surface seawater is via UV-induced photochemical reactions. Yet, the likely response of trace gas cycling to climate change remains largely unexplored. This hinders our ability to predict the future direction of this important climate-feedback. We propose to investigate this feedback by a) developing the basic understanding which will underpin a predictive tool and b) developing the predictive tool itself (computer model). We will achieve this using three complimentary tools:
Firstly, novel, high-tech spatial observations of trace gases (with depth as well as horizontal) which will allow us to identify major controls on their cycles and estimate their present flux to the atmosphere.
Secondly, direct experiments where the three stressors will be manipulated while trace gas cycling pathways are monitored. The novelty of our approach here, lies in the use of individual and combined stressor manipulation (e.g. OA alone versus high temperature and OA together). This will allow us to explore potential synergistic or antagonistic effects between stressors. We will use state-of-the-art chemical and biological observations to track changes in trace gas cycling. For example, we will monitor the abundance and activity of key genes involved in trace gas cycling. These experiments will give us explicit and refined understanding of trace gas cycling in relation to the stressors.
Thirdly, we will employ computer modelling which will translate this understanding into a predictive tool that will be used to predict the impact of future climate change.
Finally, and in order to rapidly translate our relevant findings to policy, we will engage with the public, policymakers, international science programmes and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) through our comprehensive impact plan.

Planned Impact

Who and How? The main beneficiaries outside of the scientific community for our project are:
The media and the public: PETRA researchers are very involved in promoting a good public understanding of science, particularly ocean acidification and the impact of climate change on the carbon cycle. The work of PETRA will serve as a basis for supporting active discussions on what to do about climate change, and how the earth and particularly the Arctic Ocean is responding to it. Through our involvement with LikeToBe.org and PETRA sponsorship of schools involvement we will engage directly with key stage 3 to 5 students, and will produce web-based material for teaching purposes. This will be directed to communicate the expeditionary and state of the art nature of this project, to instil the excitement of discovery based science, whilst providing a unique learning experience with respect to the significance of climate change to marine ecosystems.

Policymakers: National and international policymakers will benefit from results of PETRA to inform policy on climate change. PETRA will provide information on the Arctic contribution to cumulative trace gases. This information is relevant to determine what CO2 emissions pathways are realistic for given climate targets, and the risks associated with these pathways.

The IPCC,UNFCCC and Arctic Council: PETRA will provide key information on the anthropogenic influence on oceanic fluxes of climatically active, including greenhouse gases (N2O, CH4, CO) (1) over the historical period informing the understanding of trace gas balance that the IPCC tries to achieve, and (2) projected for various levels of CO2 and climate change, informing the cumulative CO2-equivalent budget associated with climate targets. This will contribute to decision making associated with the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, by helping to assess which climate target is achievable and how, and what is the difference between various levels of climate change which will influence the revisions of Nationally Determined Contributions.

Publications

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Hopkins FE (2020) The impacts of ocean acidification on marine trace gases and the implications for atmospheric chemistry and climate. in Proceedings. Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

 
Description Preliminary indications from this work indicate that the production of N2O is inhibited/limited by Ocean Acidification. At this stage it appears that temperature change of +2°C does not affect N2O production.
Exploitation Route Too early to say, though this does contribute and support what we know about the sensitivity of N2O production systems from elsewhere. Potential to contribute a small negative feedback to climate change, but much too early to quantify this.
Sectors Environment

 
Description Intergovernmental Assessment Report on Climate Change: IPCC SROCCC 2017-2020 Membership of the Author Team
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact I attended the IPCC SROCC Lead Authors meeting in China and Russia as a Review Editor. The Special Report will influence policy makers and future decision making on climate change negotiations and implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it will be of benefit to nations and regions on CO2 mitigation and adaptation - it is an assessment report on the Ocean, Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC)
 
Description International Ocean Strategy (UK)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact I was invited by the FCO to give evidence to UK's International Ocean Strategy. I did this and then reviewed the document at different stages,
URL https://greatbritishoceans.org/2019/01/30/priorities-for-an-international-ocean-strategy/
 
Description Member of the Expert Group of the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact This role advices the OA-ICC at the IAEA, Monaco of actions and opportunities it could take.
 
Description Multiple Science -policy activities at the UNFCCC COP, Poland (2018)
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact I led the numerous successful activities by PML at the UNFCCC COP in Poland, working with numerous partners creating high level side events and an exhibition stand.
 
Description UNFCCC COP, Poland
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact UNFCCC COP24 Poland - led side events at UK, WWF, Pacific pavilion and a UN side event organisation/lead), co-organiser of Oceans Action Event, speaker in high level closing session, invited speaker at IPCC SR1.5 session and speaker or chair in 4 sessions I organised). Several media interviews were given. Worked with Defra - and created speaking platform for UK Ministerial speaker and Head of Marine at Defra. Also had exhibition stand and created a summary for policy makers. Benefits include increased knowledge transfer to policy makers and good engagement with policy makers and other stakeholders which influences evidence based decision making
 
Title Spectrophotometric pH in seawater 
Description A new instrument was developed for the spectrophotometric determination of seawater pH using the meta-cresol-purple dye (MCP). The automated system integrates a high precision burette, spectrophotometer and thermometer with a custom-built light source. Data reduction is performed with a custom script in R (r-project.org). The accuracy of the system is calculated as better than 0.003 pH units when compared with pH calculated from independent measurements of Alkalinity and Inorganic Carbon in seawater. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Automation ensures improved reliability, accuracy and precision with substantial efficiency improvement translating to reduced cost. Potential to get the whole carbonate system (TA, DIC, pH and pCO2) from a single sample. 
 
Title 0D model experimentation framework 
Description A 0D FABM model framework was set up to be used to simulate experimental treatment conditions on GHG emissions. Available on PML GitLab server. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Not yet 
URL http://gitlab.ecosystem-modelling.pml.ac.uk
 
Title 2018 Polarstern Cruise 
Description Data collected during Polar Stern cruise PS114 to Arctic Ocean. Environmental variables (CTD, N2O, CH4, nutrients, chlorophyll a collected from horixzontal and vertical profiles Same variables collected during experimental manipulations to test the impact of OA and warming on greenhouse gas biogeochemistry 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None yet 
 
Title 2019 Research cruise JR18007 cruise to the Arctic 
Description Data collected during Polar Stern cruise PS114 to Arctic Ocean. Environmental variables (CTD, N2O, CH4, nutrients, chlorophyll a collected from horixzontal and vertical profiles Same variables collected during experimental manipulations to test the impact of OA and warming on greenhouse gas biogeochemistry 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None yet 
 
Title CO module 
Description This is a module for ERSEM to simulate production and consumption processes of carbon monoxide (CO) in the marine environment 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact none yet 
URL https://gitlab.em.pml.ac.uk
 
Description Antarctic modelling 
Organisation Korea Polar Research Institute
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution we have supported a PhD student in developing a coupled of models for the Antartcic shelf, one on carbon monoxide (CO) production and one on sea ice algae
Collaborator Contribution the student contributed with developing large part of the code
Impact CO model
Start Year 2019
 
Description GOA_ON 
Organisation International Atomic Energy Agency
Country Austria 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) is a bottom-up response by the science community to increase observations of ocean acidification. I helped initiate its development at the early stages through highlighting the need for global development in this area as far back as 2009, participated in workshops developing its strategy, representing the science need at international events (e.g. GEO meeting Geneva, UNFCCC COPs)
Collaborator Contribution The partners help run the GOA-ON website and data synthesis of observations, raise money for funding and raise interest from countries make measurements and to deposit their data and
Impact Increasing input of data, more collaborating nations for long term data collection on ocean acidification, development and agreement of protocols
Start Year 2009
 
Description GOA_ON 
Organisation National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) is a bottom-up response by the science community to increase observations of ocean acidification. I helped initiate its development at the early stages through highlighting the need for global development in this area as far back as 2009, participated in workshops developing its strategy, representing the science need at international events (e.g. GEO meeting Geneva, UNFCCC COPs)
Collaborator Contribution The partners help run the GOA-ON website and data synthesis of observations, raise money for funding and raise interest from countries make measurements and to deposit their data and
Impact Increasing input of data, more collaborating nations for long term data collection on ocean acidification, development and agreement of protocols
Start Year 2009
 
Description GOA_ON 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council
Department United Kingdom Ocean Acidification
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) is a bottom-up response by the science community to increase observations of ocean acidification. I helped initiate its development at the early stages through highlighting the need for global development in this area as far back as 2009, participated in workshops developing its strategy, representing the science need at international events (e.g. GEO meeting Geneva, UNFCCC COPs)
Collaborator Contribution The partners help run the GOA-ON website and data synthesis of observations, raise money for funding and raise interest from countries make measurements and to deposit their data and
Impact Increasing input of data, more collaborating nations for long term data collection on ocean acidification, development and agreement of protocols
Start Year 2009
 
Description GOA_ON 
Organisation United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Department Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
Country Global 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) is a bottom-up response by the science community to increase observations of ocean acidification. I helped initiate its development at the early stages through highlighting the need for global development in this area as far back as 2009, participated in workshops developing its strategy, representing the science need at international events (e.g. GEO meeting Geneva, UNFCCC COPs)
Collaborator Contribution The partners help run the GOA-ON website and data synthesis of observations, raise money for funding and raise interest from countries make measurements and to deposit their data and
Impact Increasing input of data, more collaborating nations for long term data collection on ocean acidification, development and agreement of protocols
Start Year 2009
 
Description PETRA partnership with Diapod project (Prof. Pond Stirling University) 
Organisation University of Stirling
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Measurements of methane during research cruise JR18007
Collaborator Contribution Measurements of zooplankton abundance and diversity during JR18007 plus cruise leadership. Comparison of the two data-sets will give an unprecedented level of coincident measures to enable of an assessment of co-variability and potential for zooplankton production of methane in Arctic waters.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description PETRA partnership with UEA 
Organisation University of East Anglia
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Performed experiments and collected samples to examine the impact of changing arctic ocean (OA, Warming, Sea-Ice retreat) on upper ocean biology/biogeochemistry.
Collaborator Contribution Samples collected during above experiments will be analysed for DNA/RNA biodiversity and abundance with respect to algal communities involved in the cycling of Di-methyl Sulphide.
Impact Sample analysis underway
Start Year 2019
 
Description PETRA project partnership with GEOMAR 
Organisation Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Department Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution 50:50 partnership under Changing Arctic Ocean programme to conduct research on the impact of multiple stressors on Trace gas cycling and emissions in the Artic Ocean. PML scientists undertake research on N2O and CH4 during ship experiments and modelling
Collaborator Contribution 50:50 partnership under Changing Arctic Ocean programme to conduct research on the impact of multiple stressors on Trace gas cycling and emissions in the Artic Ocean. GEOMAR scientists undertake research on DMS and CO during ship experiments.
Impact Project only 8 months old - no reportable outcomes to date
Start Year 2018
 
Description PETRA project partnership with Princeton University 
Organisation Princeton University
Department Department of Geosciences
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Delivery of research - field experiments and ecosystem modelling to investigate the impacts of multiple stressors on N2O and CH$ cycling and fluxes in the Arctic Ocean.
Collaborator Contribution Analysis of molecular biology samples collected during fieldwork expeditions
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Briefing meeting with Defra re future UNFCCC COP 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was a key briefing for Defra's involvement at ocean events at the climate change negotiations resulting in UK Minister and high level Defra participation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Changing Arctic Ocean 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Carol Turley gave a presentation at this side event at the UNFCCC COP25 in the Cryosphere Pavilion. The event focused on the Changing Arctic Ocean, and the efforts to understand the changes taking place to Arctic Ocean ecosystems by scientists in an international research programme funded by the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), with discussion of the policy response to mitigate the global consequences of Arctic warming.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.changing-arctic-ocean.ac.uk/science-outputs/arctic-conferences/santiago-climate-change-c...
 
Description Evidence at the UN Sustainability Development Goal 14 - Life Below Water Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Invited panel speaker Ocean Acidification: Status, risks and options in the official UN Partnership Dialogue 3 (PD3) panel on SDG14.3 on ocean acidification and co-authored its report to the UN General Assembly. Moderated by Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization, it featured presentations by Cardinal Peter Turkson, Head of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, Holy See; Rahanna Juman, Deputy Director, Institute of Marine Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago; David Osborn, Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Environment Laboratories; and Carol Turley, Senior Scientist, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom. Prince Albert II of Monaco and Agostinho Mondlane, Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Mozambique, co-chaired the meeting. PD3 was broadcast live.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.unmultimedia.org/avlibrary/asset/1901/1901774/
 
Description GOA-ON NEA Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was an opportunity for the scientist in the NE Atlantic to meet and build on their observation of ocean acidification in a joined up way and to share data sets and best practices. UK policy makers were in attendance as UK is supporting this activity
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Ocean acidification policy workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact PETRA team involved in discussions at Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON, NE Atlantic) meeting to present research, discuss policy implications, monitoring opportunities and funding requirements with Defra and BEIS
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.goa-on.org/
 
Description School visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Presentation and teaching session to primary school children on polar ecosystems, polar reseach and exploration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.liketobe.org/organisations/petrachangingarcticocean/profile
 
Description Seminar in Iceland, and meeting with UK Ambassador and Icelandic Minister and interviews for National Press 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited seminar and discussions by the Iceland Nature Conservation Association Reykjavík and the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute (MRFI) with follow on discussions with the UK Ambassador and Icelandic Minister at the Embassy with regard ocean acidification and the FCO Ocean report and UK's revewed interest in the ocean and the importance of global ocean acidification observations (Iceland has important observation stations and needs long term funding). The media was in attendance at the seminar and I gave several other interviews during the day (by coincidence the IPCC1.5 report was published that day - and they used me as an expert to interview on that as well as on acidification and need for global obs.
Fishing News (target is the fishing industry) asked for copies of my talk. Apart from the url given below other examples of media interviews are here:

Mbl.is, which is the website for the daily Morgunbladid.þ https://www.mbl.is/frettir/taekni/2018/10/08/hafinu_stafar_haetta_af_hlynun_jardar/

RUV TV news tonight. The latter link is a unusually long for for TV news. http://www.ruv.is/frett/sjor-surnar-hradar-vid-island-en-annars-stadar and
http://www.ruv.is/spila/klippa/surnun-sjavar-hrodust-her


http://www.visir.is/g/2018181008806/hafid-i-framvardarlinu-loftslagsbreytinga
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.ruv.is/spila/ruv/kastljos/20181022
 
Description The ocean, CO2 and society: challenges, opportunities and science responses for seas and society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Carol Turley moderated this event at the UNFCCC COP25 which was led by PML and held in the UK Pavilion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019