The role of the ocean in climate change

Temperature and currents at 450 metres depth in the high resolution Kiel ocean model. (Instantaneous values). Source: A. Biastoch, GEOMAR.

The oceans play a central role in global change processes.Major aspects of climate change are associated with the ocean’s heat transport, heat capacity, and the global water cycle. However, oceanic storage, transformation, transport and exchange of radiatively and chemically active gases and particles also exert an influence on climate through their impact on atmospheric radiation transfer. Past climate change has had demonstrable influences on the isotopic and chemical composition of seawater, which permits these signals to be investigated as potential recorders of change. Since exchanges of heat and substances between the ocean, land and the atmosphere operate on time scales ranging from seasons to millennia, they are amongst the most important factors for shaping future global climate change.

Research topics under this headline include:

  • Understanding of Past, Present and Future Overturning Circulation Changes
  • Changes in the Tropics
  • Present and Past Arctic Oceanography and Climate
  • Future Greenhouse Warming: Assessment and Scenarios
  • Past Geochemical Change in the Oceans




News for topic: the role of the ocean in climate change

Research vessel Helmer Hanssen offshore the Svalbard Islands.  Photograph © Randall Hyman

Methane Seeps off Svalbard reduce Greenhouse Effect

International research team publishes new findings about gas exchange in the Arctic

Melting Ice off the coast of Greenland. Photo: R. Spielhagen.

Melting Greenland ice has changed ocean currents

German-Dutch research team found evidence of a pronounced cold phase in the warm period occurred some 400,000 years ago

Water samples are being obtained in the Labrador Sea. Photo: Rafael Abel, GEOMAR

Close Connection between Deep Currents and Climate

GEOMAR researchers publish long-term observational data from the Labrador Sea