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Project - Uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, chemical changes and effects on the marine ecosystem in Marguerite Bay, Rothera Research Station, Antarctica: implications for policy of the government of The Netherlands


This new Netherlands Polar Program (NPP) policy-oriented research proposal aims for a 6th project in the context of the 5 existing Netherlands projects at Rothera Research Station, Antarctica.
Human activity has caused rapidly increasing emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. About half of the emitted CO2 remains airborne and is the cause of global warming, most pronounced at the poles. The remainder of anthropogenic CO2 is removed mainly by the oceans and to a lesser extent by the terrestrial biosphere (IPCC, 2007). Thus, oceanic uptake of ~40% of CO2 emitted by mankind acts as buffer to the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Unfortunately, this CO2 uptake causes major changes in ocean chemistry that in turn affect plankton ecosystems. This is the other CO2 problem, less well known than the CO2-warming problem, but with conceivably major impact notably for ocean waters around Antarctica.
The Southern Ocean including its coastal seas and bays comprises 14% of the surface of our planet and plays a key role in global climate in the past, present and future. Increasing CO2 contents of Antarctic surface and deep waters is changing the CO2 conditions for plankton with implications for the whole Antarctic ecosystem.
We propose (i) seasonal time series of CO2 in seawater in Marguerite Bay (Rothera), together with (ii) plankton biology experiments under future high-CO2 conditions, and (iii) policy for sustainability of Antarctica by our government policy (Regeerakkoord 2012) for reducing worldwide CO2 emissions, with our policy research emphasis on emerging economies and The Netherlands.

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