Irish led international team complete climate survey of the Atlantic

Caroline Cusack - Marine Institute, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland - Kevin Vickers and Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute. Photo Andrew Downes, XposureA team of scientists from six countries studying the impact of climate change on the ocean has completed 'health check' of Atlantic Ocean aboard Ireland's national research vessel, the RV Celtic Explorer. Marine Institute led team of experts surveyed a transect of the Atlantic Ocean last surveyed 20 years ago to investigate carbon dioxide levels in the ocean. The survey is essential to understand and project how carbon dioxide emissions are accumulated in the oceans and the atmosphere, as well as its effects on the acidification of the ocean. The team arrived in Galway Monday 22 May having set sail from St. John's Newfoundland over three weeks ago on 27th April.

The survey is part of the Global Oceans Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) which carries out systematic and global surveys of select hydrographic sections, through an international consortium of 16 countries and laboratories. This is the first GO-SHIP survey to involve this level of collaboration with scientists from ten leading universities and research institutes representing six countries joining the survey.

Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers visited the RV Celtic Explorer to meet the team in Galway. Ambassador Vickers said:

"This survey is a wonderful example of the Galway Statement in action as well as the longstanding collaboration on marine research between Ireland and Canada. It's four years since the Galway Statement was signed at the Marine Institute, Oranmore on 24th May 2013 and this survey with scientists from six countries representing Europe, Canada and the USA shows that Statement is being delivered on."Irish led international team complete climate survey of the Atlantic, along with the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers and Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute. Photo Andrew Downes, Xposure

The Galway Statement launched the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance between the EU, Canada and the USA, a collaboration to work together to better understand and increase our knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean and its dynamic systems, and promoting the sustainable management of its resources

Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute said the Marine Institute is proud to have supported and led this international collaboration, together with National University of Ireland, Galway.

"Irish scientists have successfully coordinated this important International ocean expedition to the gold standard of GO-SHIP and are contributing to addressing some of the biggest questions for society and our interaction with our planet.

The A02 transect surveyed betweIrish led international team complete climate survey of the Atlantic. Photo Andrew Downes, Xposure. en St Johns and Galway was last completed 20 years ago and the data collected during this survey will unlock key information about climate change, how it impacts the ocean and how in turn the ocean may influence our changing climate. This information is essential to project changes in our climate and so that as a society we can plan for this on a global scale."

Preliminary results from the survey suggest a greater penetration of manmade chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) further into the deeper ocean since 20 years ago.

Dr Evin McGovern, Marine Institute, Principal Investigator on the GO-SHIP A02 survey explains, "Although these chemicals have been phased out, they remain in the atmosphere and enter the ocean, where over time, they travel to the deep ocean. We measure the CFCs to tell the age of the water masses in the deep ocean and this helps us assess the uptake of fossil fuel carbon from the atmosphere and penetration into the deep ocean."

The survey is coordinated by the Marine Institute and National University of Ireland, Galway with research partners in Dalhousie University & Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, University of Exeter, United Kingdom, GEOMAR, Germany, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution & Columbia University, USA and Aarhus University, Denmark.

The GO-SHIP A02 survey was carried out with the support of the Marine Institute and funded under the Marine Research Programme by the Irish Government. The CFC and Carbon team activities are funded through the AtlantOS project under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme grant agreement No. 633211. Support to the Carbon and Nutrient teams, is funded by the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ocean Science and Technology.

Read more about the survey on the Scientistsatsea blog where the GO-SHIP team aboard the RV Celtic Explorer recorded their work and experience throughout the survey -

GO SHIP from Marine Institute on Vimeo.