Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports (ORCHESTRA)


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ORCHESTRA is a NERC-funded Long Term Science programme that involves scientists from many NERC Centres. This ambitious 5 year project began in spring 2016 and will use a combination of data collection, analyses and computer simulations to radically improve our ability to understand and predict the circulation of the Southern Ocean and its role in the global climate, with particular emphasis on the way that the Southern Ocean absorbs and stores heat and carbon.

Schematic of the ORCHESTRA fieldworkORCHESTRA is led by BAS, with NOC playing a major role particularly in the measurement and modelling aspects of the project. These pages focus on NOC’s role, with information about the NOC staff and points of contact, and links to current projects that may be of interest as well as some of NOC’s historic work in the Southern Ocean which informs our current research.

The intensive 5-year observational program will involve ORCHESTRA scientists undertaking 12 expeditions on research ships in the Southern Ocean, with US collaborators performing a 13th. Ten of these expeditions will be annual north/south transects across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, to evaluate how the ocean changes from one year to the next. The other three will form ‘boxes’ around the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean so that budgets can be performed. All these data, along with historical measurements, will be combined and analysed together. The observations will be used to inform and test a range of models.

The figure shows the locations of the ORCHESTRA fieldwork, with the black lines indicating the research ship expeditions:

  • 5 annual SR1b sections across Drake Passage (the ‘pinch point’ between South America and the Antarctic peninsula)
  • 5 annual ‘A23’ sections between South Georgia and the Weddell sea.
  • 1 section across 24° S.
  • 1 ‘Andrex’ section
  • 1 ‘I6S’ section (US collaborators)

Very approximate timing of cruises etc are shown in the Gantt chart.

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