The Southern Ocean is a key region for the vertical and lateral exchanges of heat, carbon, and nutrients, with significant past and potential future impacts on the global climate system. However, the role of the Southern Ocean as a sink of anthropogenic carbon and heat, and as a source of natural carbon remains uncertain. Indeed, observations of many aspects of this system are still sparse and the ability to model the complex dynamics governing the air-sea exchange, export and storage of heat and carbon is limited, resulting in large climate projection uncertainties.
To address these knowledge gaps the Southern Ocean has been the subject of recent large-scale observational, theoretical and modelling investigations by several national and international programmes, including SOCCOM, the UK ORCHESTRA and RoSES, and the H2020 programme SO-CHIC, complimented by the IODP and other drilling programmes. These and other large scale efforts such as the CMIP6 simulations have provided insight into the processes governing the Southern Ocean heat and carbon exchanges, their spatial patterns and trends on subannual, multi-decadal and millennial timescales, as well as their potential future modifications under a changing climate.
This session welcomes contributions dealing with the physical, biogeochemical and ecological processes driving the air-sea exchange, export, and storage of heat and carbon in the Southern Ocean under past, present, and future climates. These include (but are not limited to) interior ocean mixing, water mass transformation and transport pathways, the cycling of carbon and nutrients, as well as ocean-ice-atmosphere interactions and fluxes. The session will also discuss the wider implications of changing Southern Ocean heat and carbon exchanges for the lower latitudes and for the global climate.
In addition to the official vEGU sessions, we are planning a joint discussion session (with OS1.7: Under cover: The Southern Ocean’s connection to sea ice and ice shelves) on Wednesday 28 April, at 13:30-15:30 CEST, where we will discuss in more depth topics arising from the sessions, such as the role of Southern Ocean circulation for the uptake and storage of heat and carbon, ecological and biogeochemical exchanges, ocean-ice interactions and the role of the Southern Ocean in wider climate. The discussion session is structured as a 1-hour plenary using zoom and moderated by the convenors, followed by a 1-hour informal exchange in break out groups using “wonder.me”. We especially encourage Early Career Researchers to participate and to use these informal sessions as an opportunity for networking with fellow Southern Ocean enthusiasts. The links to the rooms be displayed to attendees at the vPICO session. If you are a registered attendee but cannot attend the vPICO session please directly contact a convener for breakout session details.
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