Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ocean probes to help refine climate change forecasting

Date:
August 6, 2011
Source:
University of Southern California
Summary:
A researcher has opened a new window to understanding how the ocean impacts climate change. She spent four years collecting samples from floating sediment traps in the San Pedro Basin off the Los Angeles coast, giving scientists a peek at how much carbon is locked up in the ocean and where it comes from.

A USC researcher has opened a new window to understanding how the ocean impacts climate change.

Related Articles


Lisa Collins, environmental studies lecturer with the USC Dornsife College, spent four years collecting samples from floating sediment traps in the San Pedro Basin off the Los Angeles coast, giving scientists a peek at how much carbon is locked up in the ocean and where it comes from.

Collins' research suggests that the majority of particulate organic carbon (POC) falling to the basin floor is marine-derived, not the result of runoff from rainfall. This means that the ocean off the coast of Southern California is acting as a carbon "sink" -- taking carbon out of the atmosphere via phytoplankton and locking it up in sediment.

Though estimates regarding the effect of carbon in the ocean already exist, her hard data can help climatologists create more accurate predictions of how carbon will impact global warming.

What is unique about Collins' study is that it is not just a snapshot of POC falling, but rather a finely detailed record of four years of POC production, showing how much fell and when.

"It's all tied to climate change," said Collins, who started the research as a graduate student working for USC Earth Sciences Professor Will Berelson. "This lets us see patterns.

"Our data can help climate modelers better predict the interactions between the oceans and atmosphere with respect to carbon which can help them better predict how much carbon dioxide will end up sequestered over the long term as sediments in the ocean," she said.

Collins' study is among the longest of its kind in the region. A similar study was conducted in Santa Monica Basin from 1985-1991, and another is currently underway in Hawaii. Her findings appear in the August issue of Deep-Sea Research I.

Between January 2004 and December 2007, Collins took 32 trips to the San Pedro Basin, which is located about halfway between San Pedro and Catalina Island. She deployed giant yellow funnels about the size of a person hundreds of meters under water to collect sediment as it floated by.

Results were anything but guaranteed, which is the nature of the job.

"Oceanography is risky; you lose things," Collins said. "Any time you throw something over the boat, you say 'God, I hope that's not the last time I see it.'" In fact, Collins lost what would have been six months worth of additional data due to malfunctioning sediment traps.

The next step for Collins will be to check out the waters off of Palos Verdes, testing to see if her findings can be seen on a larger scale throughout the region.

Collins' research was funded by the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lisa E. Collins, William Berelson, Douglas E. Hammond, Angela Knapp, Richard Schwartz, Doug Capone. Particle fluxes in San Pedro Basin, California: A four-year record of sedimentation and physical forcing. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 2011; 58 (8): 898 DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2011.06.008

Cite This Page:

University of Southern California. "Ocean probes to help refine climate change forecasting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110805135800.htm>.
University of Southern California. (2011, August 6). Ocean probes to help refine climate change forecasting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110805135800.htm
University of Southern California. "Ocean probes to help refine climate change forecasting." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110805135800.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Hawaii Lava Inches Closer

Raw: Hawaii Lava Inches Closer

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) Aerial video shows the path lava has carved across a portion of Hawaii's big island, threatening homes in the town of Pahoa. Officials say the flow was just over 230 yards from a roadway Thursday morning. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii was 225 yards from Pahoa Village Road on Wednesday night. The lava is slowing down but still approaching the village. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

AFP (Oct. 29, 2014) At the foot of the rugged Carpathian mountains near the Polish-Ukrainian border, ranchers and scientists are trying to protect the Carpathian pony, known as the Hucul in Polish. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins