Carbon flux

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ESA/University of Exeter/Heriot-Watt University/Plymouth Marine Laboratory/Ifremer/National Oceanography Centre/Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College UHI/Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences/Planetary Visions


About a quarter of the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere ends up in the ocean, but the processes involved are not fully understood. This air–sea flux is affected by many factors such as ocean biological activity, waves and temperature of the sea surface. Over the last four years an international team of scientists and engineers have been using data from satellites along with pioneering cloud computing techniques to study the carbon dioxide in our oceans.

This OceanFlux Greenhouse Gases project is funded through ESA’s Earth Observation Support to Science Element. The team have made their data and cloud computing tools, the ‘FluxEngine’, available to the international scientific community so that other groups can analyse the data for themselves. Launched on 16 February 2016, the Sentinel-3A satellite is now set to play an important role in the project. It carries an instrument package that makes simultaneous measurements, providing overlapping data products that carry vital information to estimate atmosphere–ocean carbon dioxide fluxes.

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