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

Mobile winch and cable owned by the U.S. GEOTRACES-programme. Similar devices are used on cruise M121.  Photo: Gregory Cutter, Old Dominion University, Norfolk (USA).

RV METEOR closes a gap in the global atlas of trace metals

GEOMAR-ForscheGEOMAR researchers lead GEOTRACES expedition in the southeastern Atlantic r leiten GEOTRACES-Expedition im Südostatlantik


Accelerated melting of glacial ice

A warm deep sea caused enhanced ice melting at the end of the last ice age

With the piston corer sediment cores from the ocean floor can be obtained. Photo: D. Nürnberg, GEOMAR

Exceptionally rapid onset of coastal upwelling offshore Peru

Kiel marine scientists find significant changes in the eastern Pacific during the past 10,000 years