Scotland's Deep Water Carbon Resources: Sources, Rates and Fates

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Geography and Sustainable Development

Abstract

Scotland's Deep Water Carbon Resources: Sources, Rates and Fates:

Sources: Where does the carbon stored in marine sediments originate, what proportion of this is marine, what proportion is terrestrial?

Rates: how much carbon is stored in marine sediments?

Fates: what are the processes that determine distribution of marine sedimentary carbon in shelf sediments? What processes determine transport of carbon across the shelf and into deep water marine sediments?

Study area: West coast of Scotland, Hebridean shelf

The project will include physical sample collection and analysis, as well as data collation from various sources and particle tracking modelling. In terms of sample collection, this will focus on expanding the current spatial understanding of distribution of carbon in marine sediments further offshore than most of the sampling effort is currently focused in. In addition to aiding mapping efforts of sediment types and carbon content on the shelf, isotope and biomarker analysis within samples will help build up an understanding of the sources of carbon within the sediment. With carbon originating from terrestrial sources, such as peatland, this could be an important input into carbon budgeting for terrestrial carbon stocks. Furthermore, aging of the terrestrial carbon can help understand whether aged carbon that may be released from stores on land due to climate change can help broaden the current understanding of links between land and sea and how big the threat from loss of carbon in terrestrial stores is.

For the modelling component, the planned approach is to track particles using output of a hydrodynamic model, namely FVCOM or the Scottish Shelf Model, and assess where particles released from a point source at the coast, e.g. at the head of a sea loch, are deposited and what physical processes influence the distribution on the seabed.

Publications

10 25 50