Awareness in space.
What to study?
For Prelims and mains: key objectives and significance of the mission.
Context: Scientists have discovered that, contrary to existing assumptions, biological processes far out at sea are the most important factors determining how the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide.
- This enhances the understanding of the link between the Southern Ocean — next to Antarctica — and the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
- Scientists studied data collected as part of the ANDREX project (Antarctic Deep water Rates of Export) which measured the physical, biological, and chemical properties of the waters in the gyre between 2008 and 2010.
Carbon dioxide is absorbed in the surface oceans and stored in the deep seas, gradually, over a timescale of 100s to 1,000s years.
The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in how the carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere, and knowing how it functions helps scientists understand this mechanism’s role during dramatic climate transitions in the past, such as the ice ages, and better predict the current and future climate change.
About ANDREX project:
The project seeks to assess the role of the Weddell gyre in driving the southern closure of the meridional overturning circulation, in ventilating the deep global ocean, and in sequestering carbon and nutrients in the global ocean abyss.