Ocean Chemistry of the Greenhouse Gases
Peter Brewer will be following up on a new concept he introduced in 2008, the Ocean Respiration Index, which is the ratio of the partial pressure of oxygen to carbon dioxide. This index measures the ability of the ocean to support higher forms of marine life and will drop with increasing ocean acidification. The theory predicts future expansion of dead zones on account of microbes switching to alternate electron receptors as the Respiration Index falls. Brewer’s group will participate in the northern expedition of the Western Flyer to Hydrate Ridge and Barkley Canyon, using time-lapse cameras and the in situ laser Raman spectrometer to monitor seafloor hydrate reactions. They will pair their field data with a modest laboratory program to try to reconcile the large hydrate accumulations observed in the field with the slow growth rates predicted from known diffusive processes.