EAPS Department Lecture Series - Corinne Le Quere (University of East Anglia)
"Recent trends in the emissions and sinks of carbon dioxide"
As the concentration of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere crosses the symbolic mark of 400 parts per million, this presentation will detail what we understand of the response of the natural reservoirs – the ocean and the terrestrial biosphere – to changes in atmospheric CO2. The natural reservoirs absorb more than half of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere each year on average. These CO2 ‘sinks’ are regulated by the level and rate of growth of CO2 in the atmosphere and by warming and changes in environmental conditions. Process understanding is now sufficient to account for most of the observed mean, trend and interannual variability of the CO2 sinks. However there is a large gap in our understanding of how the sinks respond to sub-decadal climate variability, limiting our ability to verify reported CO2 emissions. The presentation will hone in on changes in the Southern Ocean carbon sink, both looking at how intensifying wind speed affect the efficiency of the Southern Ocean CO2 sink, and at how grazing by krill changes our perspective on controlling factors of carbon export from the surface to the intermediate and deep ocean. Finally the presentation will put the response of the CO2 sinks in the larger context of the recent trends in CO2 emissions and discuss the starting point of the Paris Agreement on climate change about to enter into force.
About the Speaker
Originally from Canada with a PhD in oceanography, Le Quéré is Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and Professor of Climate Change Science and Policy at the University of East Anglia. Her research speciality is the interactions between climate change and the carbon cycle, but she is also highly respected as a passionate and thoughtful communicator who is active in policy. Le Quéré has been an author on the last three IPCC Assessments and wrote about her experience of the 2013 process.
About the Series
EAPS interdisciplinary Department Lecture Series (DLS) brings both national and international speakers into the department to share their work. In addition EAPS sponsors a number of annual flagship named lectures, among them the Brace Lecture, the Kendall Lecture, and the Carlson Lecture. All such lectures and seminars are free and open to the public. To be added to EAPS event listserve contact Brandon Milardo, firstname.lastname@example.org.