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Publication highlight: “Canada's marine carbon sink” published in FACETS journal

Posted by Dalhousie Oceanography on September 11, 2023 in Community Highlights

Most oceans surrounding Canada are currently taking up atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), which is important for controlling climate change. But the gaps and large uncertainties in ocean observations and model predictions present challenges to quantify CO2 uptake by the ocean for informing climate change policies.

A recent publication on the FACETS journal, entitled "Canada's marine carbon sink: early career perspectives on the state of research and existing knowledge gaps," was written by a group of early career ocean scientists. Three PhD students from Dalhousie Oceanography participated as co-authors in this publication, including Benjamin Richaud (Dr. Eric Oliver’s group), Ricardo Arruda Monteiro da Silva and Kitty Kam (Dr. Doug Wallace’s CERC.OCEAN group), who focused on the Arctic and Atlantic sections of this review.

The review, led by University of Victoria PhD student Patrick Duke, was part of Canada’s Marine Carbon Sink project — funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Advancing Climate Change Science in Canada program. The project is meant to develop techniques to quantify and predict the anthropogenic carbon sink in Canada’s three ocean basins.

The study shines a light on future climate actions as establishing policies for climate change mitigation relies on how well we understand the ocean's role in regulating global CO2.

The authors assembled an extensive collection of published data and summarized processes that drive fluctuations on how much CO2 gas moves across the air-sea interface within each of Canadian adjacent oceans (Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Ocean). Moreover, they highlighted several barriers hindering marine CO2 research, such as lack of collaboration with First Nations coastal communities, who are disproportionally impacted by ocean acidification, due to institutional barriers. The study suggests future research efforts to bridge the gaps and reduce the uncertainty in Canada's carbon inventory reporting, and call for improvements on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in ocean science and technology, such as aligning the priority of our future studies with the 94 Calls to Action for Canada by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

These suggestions will help to create baselines for managing future marine CO2 removal projects aimed at mitigating climate change and provide support on mitigating and adapting to ocean acidification in Canada.

Read the full article here.