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MARIRON - Modelling the marine iron cycle: Past and future biogeochemical-climate feedbacks

Summary information

Funding:FP6 - Marie Curie Actions
Ec contribution:174965
Start date:2005-06-01
End date:2007-05-31
Duration:24 months
Coordinator:Fortunat Joos (
Organisation:Universität Bern Physics Institute, Climate and Environmental Physics - Switzerland
Project name:MARIRON - Modelling the marine iron cycle: Past and future biogeochemical-climate feedbacks
Project summary:Abstract
The goal of this proposal is to attract a female researcher to come to Europe for training and reinforce the scientific excellence of the European Union and Associated States. This will foster a mutually beneficial collaboration between two centres of excellence in climate modelling research, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA and the University of Bern, Switzerland. Knowledge will also be transferred to the University of Bern on the modelling of marine iron, an important micronutrient for marine ecosystems.

The scientific objective of this proposal is to study the role of dust-derived iron in increasing the biological productivity of the marine ecosystem as a potential mechanism to drawdown carbon dioxide. This relates to the effect of global change on ecosystems, one of the 7 priority thematic areas of the European Research Area outlined in the Sixth Framework Programme. We will use an interdisciplinary approach that cuts across the disciplines of fluid dynamics, oceanography and biogeochemistry. Specifically, an iron cycling model developed at MIT will be coupled to a three dimensional ocean circulation-biogeochemistry model developed at the University of Bern and forced by dust flux records derived from ice cores to quantify the importance of aeolian iron supply on past and future atmospheric carbon dioxide, ecosystem structure and climate.

Access to emerging data from the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), the first ice core record going back 900,000 years will allow us to validate model results and test new hypotheses. Since iron fertilisation has been proposed as a mitigation strategy to sequester anthropogenic carbon dioxide into the ocean from the atmosphere, we will perform numerical simulations to test its effectiveness.