The Role of the Ocean in the Global Carbon Cycle

Jan 22, 2013 Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Mick Follows, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, Earth, Atmosphere, & Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Follows Group and The Darwin Project at MIT

Dr. Follows explains how ocean circulation, seawater chemistry and marine biology combine to shape the complex system known as the ocean carbon cycle. Life on Earth depends on the viability of this cycle, which regulates the balance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He describes how the system works and also the biological consequences when the CO2 balance is seriously disrupted by excess atmospheric CO2. The Follows Group at MIT uses state-of-the-art technology and modeling to develop an accurate representation of these biogeochemical dynamics that drive the planet.

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Understanding the dynamics of the carbon cycle requires the skills of many scientists representing different fields: geology, biology, chemistry, physics, among others. The Follows group participates in a major interdisciplinary effort, the Darwin Project, which is unraveling how the carbon cycle works, how it becomes destabilized, and what it takes to recover its stability.