Our mission is to study the role of the ocean in past and future climate change through interdisciplinary research in ocean biogeochemistry, physical oceanography and aquatic ecology
What we do
Anthropogenic global warming is expected to have a significant impact on ocean circulation, biogeochemistry, ocean pH and ecosystem structure, changes which will feedback onto the climate system and atmospheric CO2. Recent research suggests that this feedback is positive: i.e., human-induced global warming might result in a decrease in the rate at which the ocean takes up and stores atmospheric carbon dioxide, further enhancing global warming. This is clearly a worrisome trend which needs immediate investigation.
Our group’s research interests are at the frontier of ocean biogeochemistry, ocean ecology and physical oceanography. We research the oceanic controls on atmospheric pCO2 and global climate from inter-annual to millenial time scales and we wish to improve understanding and prediction of:
Oceanic uptake, storage and release of atmospheric CO2 and other gases;
Climate-sensitivity of ocean biogeochemical cycles and interactions with ecosystem structure;
Feedbacks between ocean carbon cycle, ocean ecosystem structure, ocean circulation and climate.
Our work combines theoretical aspects with running climate change simulations and sensitivity studies (using complex general circulation models or GCMs) on a newly acquired state-of-the-art computer cluster in the Earth and Environmental Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania.
Specific Topics of Interest
Southern Ocean oceanography: links with the atmosphere and climate feedbacks.
How the ocean carbon pumps control atmospheric pCO2. The impact of future changes in ocean ventilation on ocean carbon pumps and atmospheric pCO2.
Biological-physical controls on the large scale air-sea CO2 flux distributions.
Response of Ocean Ecology to future climate change.
Postdoc Milutinovic published a commentary "Oceans of problems, oceans of opportunities" in the Congress Blog section of The Hill newspaper, found here.
Two papers co-authored by postdoc Raffa Bernardello and faculty Irina Marinov were published in Nature Climate Change and the Journal of Climate, and are getting the attention of the press. See Media Coverage for more information.
In February 2014, prof. Irina Marinov was faculty host for a Penn alumni expedition to the West Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea. Here is a link to incredible Antarctica pictures from this trip, and here is a link to her blog.
In March 2014, postdoc Anna Cabre and alumni Shirley Leung participated in the Ocean Sciences meeting in Hawaii, with talks/posters on the ocean phytoplankton response to climate change across the CMIP5 Earth System models.