Climate Variability, Ocean Circulation, and Ecosystems
The ocean stores heat and carbon dioxide, and redistributes them
via the large-scale circulation. Both the storage capacity and
redistribution patterns are affected by climate change, and the ocean
in turn may modify climate through various feedback mechanisms.
Variability in ocean-atmosphere feedback on climate time scales may
have profound affects on ecosystems through habitat changes (e.g.
increasing mean temperature) or through modulation of shorter time
scale phenomena (e.g. the El-Nino/Southern Oscillation cycle).
Examples of Key Scientific Questions
- How will climate change affect the global ocean circulation?
- How does the ocean store anthropogenic carbon?
- How will ocean acidification affect marine ecosystems?
- How do climate cycles influence regional food webs?