SCOR has promoted studies of ocean carbon since the early 1960s, with the formation of SCOR Working Group 2 on Carbon Dioxide in the Ocean, and ocean carbon has been a major theme of SCOR activities since that time.
SCOR and the the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) have co-sponsored activities related to the ocean's role in global climate change since 1979, when the first Committee on Climate Change and the Ocean (CCCO) was formed with Roger Revelle as its first chairman. In 1984, the CCCO formed a CO2 Advisory Panel. This was later transformed into a Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS)-CCCO group and, subsequently, a JGOFS-IOC group. With the completion of JGOFS, this cooperative activity was reformed as the SCOR-IOC Advisory Panel on Ocean Carbon Dioxide. This panel was superseded by the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP).
IOCCP promotes the implementation of a global network of ocean carbon observations through development of international agreements on standards, methods, and databases. IOCCP works with the Global Ocean Observing System, the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission on Oceanography and Marine Meteorology, and with scientists working in government agencies and research institutions who make ocean carbon measurements and are developing new measurement methods. IOCCP convenes workshops and helps develop manuals on ocean carbon measurement methods and systems, for example, the Guide to Best Practices for Oceanic CO2 Measurements.
Two SCOR-sponsored projects―the SCOR/IGBP/WCRP/CACGP Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) and the SCOR/IGBP Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) project―include ocean carbon research within their mandates. The two projects have worked together to create a merged implementation plan related to ocean carbon research and support three subgroups to coordinate their joint activities on the (1) surface ocean system, (2) interior ocean carbon storage, and (3) ocean acidification. These groups work with IOCCP to ensure coordination between ocean carbon research and observations worldwide.
SCOR and IOC convened the first symposium on The Ocean in a High-CO2 World in 2004 to bring together ocean scientists for an interdisciplinary examination of science related to the ocean in the context of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, including potential effectiveness, risks, and unknowns of activities designed to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide in the ocean. The first symposium and associated publications resulted in wide dissemination, within both the ocean science community and policy communities worldwide, of information about the implications of ocean acidification and the urgent need for more research on this issue. SCOR and IOC decided after the first symposium to hold a symposium on this topic every four years. The second symposium was held in Monaco in September 2008 and the third symposium was held in Monterey, California, USA in September 2012.
SCOR formed its first five working groups at its first meeting in 1960, including Working Group 2 on Carbon Dioxide in the Ocean. Since that time, SCOR working groups have played an important role in advancing the understand of the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle.
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