Direct Observation of the Fate of Oceanic
Carbon Dioxide Release at 800m.

E. T. Peltzer, P. G. Brewer, G. Friederich, and G. Rehder
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Preprints of Symposia, Division of Fuel Chemistry, American Chemical Society (2000) 45 (4): 794-798.

Published: 2000 August 20.


The rise rate and dissolution rate of freely released CO2 in the ocean were measured to provide fundamental data regarding carbon sequestration in the upper ocean. These experimental observations were accomplished using MBARI's advanced remotely operated vehicle (ROV) technology. Small amounts of liquid CO2 were released at 800 m depth and ambient temperature (4.4°C). The rising droplets were contained within an open ended acrylic chamber and were imaged with an HDTV camera. The mean rise rate for a droplet of initially 1 cm diameter observed over a one hour period was 12.4 cm/sec. The rise rate was initially about 10 cm/sec and it gradually increased to about 15 cm/sec as the bubble rose. The mean dissolution rate was 3.7 mmol/cm²/sec. Visual contact of the rising droplets was maintained for up to 1 hour and over 400 m initially suggesting a slow dissolution rate and long bubble lifetimes. However, 90% of the mass loss occurred within 30 minutes and 200 m of the release point.

© 2000 by FUEL Chemistry Division, American Chemical Society.


The authors would like to thank the Captain and crew of the RV Point Lobos, and the pilots of the ROV Ventana. Without their skilled support, this research would not have been possible. This work was supported by a grant to MBARI from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

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