Southern Ocean - Carbon and Heat Impact on Climate (SO-CHIC)

Start date
1 November, 2019
End date
31 October, 2024

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The Southern Ocean regulates the global climate by controlling heat and carbon exchanges between the atmosphere and the ocean.



Rates of climate change on decadal time scales ultimately depend on oceanic processes taking place in the Southern Ocean, yet too little is known about the underlying processes. Limitations come both from the lack of observations in this extreme environment and its inherent sensitivity to intermittent small-scale processes that are not captured in current Earth system models.



To contribute to reducing uncertainties in climate change predictions, the overall objective of SO-CHIC is to understand and quantify variability of heat and carbon budgets in the Southern Ocean through an investigation of the key processes controlling exchanges between the atmosphere, ocean and sea ice using a combination of observational and modelling approaches.



BAS is co-leading two work packages, quantifying and understanding the fluxes of heat and carbon between the ocean mixed layer and the interior (WP2) and understanding the interior circulation of the Weddell Sea (WP3) and its response to atmospheric and other forcing.


A small boat in a body of water


These work packages are leveraging state-of-the-art ship, mooring and autonomous observations to give better understanding of the ocean processes of heat and carbon subduction and obduction that will allow us to better constrain uncertainty within Earth system models.


A boat in the water


The changing Southern Ocean: Heat and carbon

8 May, 2023

A series of studies on the Southern Ocean, which encircles Antarctica, reveal how it is changing. A special issue of the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society, led by the …