A fleet of new-generation, deep-diving ocean robots will be deployed in the Southern Ocean, in a major study of how marine life acts as a handbrake on global warming.
The automated probes will be looking for ‘marine snow’, which is the name given to the shower of dead algae and carbon-rich organic particles that sinks from upper waters to the deep ocean.
Sailing from Hobart on Friday, twenty researchers aboard CSIRO’s RV Investigator hope to capture the most detailed picture yet of how marine life in the Southern Ocean captures and stores carbon from the atmosphere.
Voyage Chief Scientist, Professor Philip Boyd, from AAPP and IMAS, said it would be the first voyage of its kind to combine ship-board observations, deep-diving robots, automated ocean gliders and satellite measurements.
“The microscopic algae in the ocean are responsible for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as much as the forests on land