Capturing ocean carbon to geoengineer the planet toward 1.5 degrees, NERC GW4+ DTP, PhD Geography studentship Ref: 3314
Deadline: 7 January 2019.
Supervisors Dr Paul Halloran (Exeter), Dr Oliver Andrews (Bristol), Prof. Richard Betts *Met Office and Exeter), Prof. Andrew Watson (Exeter)
Location: University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Exeter EX4 4QJ
Climate models suggest that we have around a decade’s worth of current CO2 emissions left before we are committed to exceeding the 1.5 degree warming threshold agreed in Paris(https://goo.gl/Kjo4Ni). Even with the best efforts of the signatories on the Paris Agreement, lack of options to decarbonise sectors like international transportation mean that the deployment of geoengineering solutions are almost inevitable if we are to meet ambitious climate targets.
The oceans presently take up about a third of the CO2 that society emits (https://goo.gl/VJfZB5). It was initially proposed by James Lovelock that by enhancing the supply of nutrients from the subsurface to the surface ocean we could stimulate additional phytoplankton growth and enhance the ocean’s natural removal of CO2 from the atmosphere (https://goo.gl/wHqd5R). Unfortunately, the cycling of nutrients and carbon are tightly coupled in the ocean, so by bringing nutrients up to the surface, you are also bringing up additional carbon, which essentially results in no net CO2 removal from the atmosphere. The nutrient and carbon cycles could however be decoupled by extracting carbon from the seawater as it is being pumped up – a task which we know how to do at small scales.
Project Aims and Methods
We want to work with you to adapt and run climate models and develop simple models to ask: is this geoengineering approach feasible? What are the potential ecosystem and climate-system impacts? Are there unintended consequences? And what is the optimal design of such a system?
Contact: Paul Halloran, email@example.com