Updated on June 3, 2003

Project summary

Scientific objectives and approach:

The main scientific objectives of project ORFOIS are to:
  • identify and quantify globally the mechanisms underlying the transformation of biogenic particles to dissolved substances within the ocean water column in order to predict correctly surface ocean carbon dioxide sources and sinks;
  • develop a refined particle flux model for operational use in ocean general circulation models which realistically describes particle dynamics in the water column, deposition of material to the sediment, and the interaction with the carbon dioxide partial pressure pCO2;
  • provide a global closed carbon and nutrient budget for modern (preindustrial) conditions including the water column sediment interaction;
  • estimate the changes in CO2 sea surface source sink patterns and vertical redistributions of carbon as well as nutrients for future global change, climate change as well as carbon sequestration scenarios including the associated potential economic impacts.

The project's main technological objectives are to:

  • establish publically available community models for particle flux dynamics in the water column and early sediment diagenesis which are suited for use in general circulation ocean climate models;
  • establish data bases for marine carbon and nutrient cycling which will be easily publically available.
The methodology to achieve these goals is based on a combination of a comprehensive observational data base on marine carbon cycling to be collated with two BOGCMs.

Expected impacts:

The project will result in best estimates of sea surface CO2 source sink patterns. Comprehensive observational data bases on surface ocean pCO2 and marine carbon cycle data will be collated and made publically available through web access. Community models on marine particle flux dynamics and early diagenesis (top sediment zone) will be made publically available for use in any other ocean model. Estimates of socio-economic impacts of a better knowledge of sea surface CO2 source sink patterns and particle flux dynamics will be provided for future climate change as well as carbon sequestration scenarios.