Observations, Analysis and Synthesis

Group leader: Peter Landschützer


Our Mission:

The OAS group led by Peter Landschützer combines, extrapolates and interprets various observations of the Earth System from satellite data through shipboard data and data from autonomous sampling devices. Our aim is to improve our understanding of the physical and biogeochemical processes driving the uptake of carbon and heat in the global ocean and their impact on climate-relevant timescales. The group uses a wide variety of tools from classical statistical analysis through data mining and artificial neural networks to synergize all available in-situ information and provide new constraints to evaluate Earth System Models and improve future projections and short term predictions. While one focus is on the global ocean, the group further sets focus on ocean regions, such as the Southern Ocean, the Arctic Ocean and the coastal ocean, where data are sparse and novel techniques are required to meaningfully interpret the available observations. Besides the statistical analysis of existing observations, the group is further active in laboratory experiments and field measurements. Likewise, the group actively uses model output as a self-consistent testbed to improve the methods used and provide valuable information where future measurement campaigns are needed.

Focus 1: The global ocean carbon cycle - variability and impact

Based on measurements of the surface ocean partial pressure of CO2 and a 2-step neural network data-extrapolation technique, the group investigates the ocean CO2 uptake from 1982 through present. While this observation-based estimates suggest substantially more variability on decadal timescales than previously recognised, the group aims to understand the processes behind it. Furthermore, the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 directly impacts the surface ocean pH with harmful consequences to ocean ecosystems and fisheries (such as hypercapnia and low saturation states with regard to calcium carbonate)


Focus 2: The Southern Ocean

To-date the Southern Ocean is among the least well observed ocean regions, despite its crucial role in the Earth’s climate system. The OAS group aims to quantify the uptake and storage of heat and carbon in the Southern Ocean based on data from ships, satellites and autonomous devices. The groups mission is to provide a consistent picture of the observed variability and the processes driving it from the atmosphere through the surface ocean to the ocean interior. Additionally, based on laboratory experiments, the group aims to better understand the seaice-carbon pump in the high latitude oceans.