This project investigates drivers of variability in the cycles of sea ice growth and decay, and Southern Ocean CO2 uptake and release, in order to assess the resulting feedbacks on oceans, ice shelves, ecosystems, and carbon budgets
New understanding is needed to explain present-day trends and predict long-term change in sea ice and ocean CO2 exchange change in a +2°C (Paris Agreement) or warmer, world.
The project focuses on the Ross Sea region, with particular attention to the Ross Sea and Terra Nova Bay polynyas. However, analysis of change and variability in sea ice and the carbon cycle on larger scales and connections to atmospheric circulation will involve climate processes across the whole of the Southern Ocean and much of the Southern Hemisphere. Past, present, and future change will be investigated using a combination of paleoclimate proxies, modern observations, remote sensing, and empirical and process modelling.
Objective Leader: James Renwick
Goal: To understand large-scale influences on the seasonality and interdecadal variability of sea ice in the Ross Sea.
Figure: Example extremes of the sea ice seasonal cycle, from 2008/2009. Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center, https://nsidc.org/
Objective Leader: Jocelyn Turnbull
Goal: To attribute recent changes in the Southern Ocean carbon sink to atmospheric, biological and oceanic processes, and add significantly to existing sparse and seasonally-biased data.
Objective Leader: Wolfgang Rack
Goal: To quantify sea ice volume and its temporal and spatial variations, and improve understanding of the processes shaping the ice conditions in and around the polynyas (sea ice production areas).
Figure: Satellite image of Ross Sea, McMurdo Sound, and Terra Nova Bay Polynyas. The purple line indicated the ice shelf edge.
Objective Leader: Natalie Robinson
Goal: To quantify the spatial variability of key physical parameters influencing the distribution and structure of sub-ice platelet layers, and their role as a habitat.