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RP1s / Packages for the research axe 1

1. Marine, atmosphere, biogeochemistry and climate interactions

These following packages focus mainly on coastal and large-scale oceanography over southern Africa. The objective is to understand the processes that make and drive ocean and atmospheric circulation around and over southern Africa via a complementary approach involving observations and numerical simulations. This will help implementing regional monitoring of the water masses and heat budgets, fresh-water and biogeochemical fluxes. These open-ocean processes have important consequences on the coastal dynamics and ecosystems stability, and contribute to short-term climate fluctuations such as prolonged droughts. Furthermore, it can have an impact on the global climate when those changes affect the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC), or alter the oceanic absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

RP.1.1 Regional climate downscaling (ocean & atmosphere) over southern Africa and southern ocean based on IPCC scenarii and meso-scale regional oceanic and atmospheric models.

RP.1.2 Variability of the Benguela and Agulhas regions: climatological process and interannual variability studies can be led to investigate hotspots of the South African ocean dynamics.

RP.1.3 Atmosphere-Ocean exchanges over a large African area. Producing and assessing adequate air-sea fluxes, especially wind stress, for high-resolution ocean scenarios and for all ocean processes driven by atmosphere is a crucial point for all the RPs.

RP.1.4 Reconstruction of past climate using proxies (bivalves) records of past and present environmental conditions, allowing the reconstruction of environmental (& upwelling) history.

RP.1.5 Large-scale oceanic circulation and exchanges between the Indian, Atlantic and Southern oceans between South Africa and the Subtropical Front, and the ACC. The objectives are: (i) characterization of mesoscale processes and air-sea exchanges that set up the general circulation of the region, (ii) inter-ocean exchanges and the “South Atlantic” MOC and, (iii) monitoring the variability of the Southern Ocean south of Africa.

RP.1.6 Iron, DMS and climate interactions. The Southern Ocean is a hotspot of DMS emission. The importance of iron and DMS in the upwelling systems has been demonstrated, but no study has been conducted in the Benguela so far. Measurements in this region would be included in the international database that is currently used in biogeochemical models to better understand the role of DMS in climate.

RP.1.7 Biochemistry modelling and plankton ecosystem. The goals of the modelling proposed are threefold: to better describe the distributions of selected tracers among the TEIs (Trace Element and Isotopes) constrained by ocean dynamics and major biogeochemical processes (primary production, particle settling, remineralization), to constrain the exchanges across the continental shelf – slope region, and to improve the biogeochemical parameters used in carbon ocean models.

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