Out here in the northeast Atlantic we will collect data on the flux of particles from the surface to the deep ocean. The particles are called ‘marine snow’, as they really do look like snow as they sink. The snow is made up of small plants, animals and even marine litter and microplastics falling together as aggregates to the ocean depths. Some of the surface carbon can be locked away at depth and without this ‘biological carbon pump’ the atmospheric CO2 would be higher than it is today.
On JC231 new Marine Snow Catchers will be used, pictured here at the PAP-SO with the Antics team (Advancing Novel imaging Technologies for Interior ocean Carbon Storage). The data and methods will be also compared with our colleagues in South Africa, as part of the AtlantECO project (https://www.atlanteco.eu/).
We will also deploy deep water Sediment Traps at PAP-SO, which are the large yellow funnels pictured here.
They have rotating cups to collect samples throughout the year, at more that 4km depth in the ocean. The sediment traps will continue collecting data long after the ship has left the PAP site, forming part of a timeseries dating back to 1989. Many of these historical trap samples will also be analysed for microplastics and organic carbon as part of the AtlantECO project’.