International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project

The Earth’s carbon dioxide levels have been steadily increasing in the surface oceans for decades. How the ocean will respond to a changing climate is yet unknown. The International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP; co-sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research) promotes the development of scientific programmes and a global network of ocean carbon observations.

The IOCCP coordinates a highly diverse set of ocean carbon activities (e.g., ocean acidification, repeat hydrography, underway pCO2, surface and interior ocean synthesis activities, data products, standards and methods) through extensive collaboration with the scientific community via scientific steering committees of related projects, dialogue with national and international organizations, and organizing international scientific workshops, and expert meetings. The IOCCP works closely with GOOS (as well as other programmes) to promote and document the development and status of a sustained ocean carbon observing system.

UK Involvement

The IOCCP’s GO-SHIP programme is co-sponsored by the Climate Variability and Predictability Programme, whose project offices are now based in China and India. GO-SHIP seeks to bring together scientists with interests in physical oceanography, the carbon cycle, marine biogeochemistry and ecosystems to help develop a globally coordinated network as part of the global ocean/climate observing system.

In 2011 the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) was published which contains CO2 data from 6.3 million measurements from 1,767 cruises between 1968 and 2008. More than ten countries took part in gathering this data, including those from the United Kingdom who are members of the SOCAT North Atlantic and Arctic working group.