Ocean carbon
What we don’t know can hurt us: achieving global net zero is impossible without the ocean

The ocean is the most important global storage depot on Earth: it stores hundreds of times the heat and 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere and takes up more carbon than all the rainforests combined.

We need to know more

The ocean is the most important global storage depot of carbon on Earth. It stores 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere and soaks up more emissions than all the world’s rainforests combined. But the biology, chemistry and physics of the biggest carbon sink on the planet are changing - and we don’t know exactly by how much.

Climate estimates do not take into account ocean changes and therefore are informed by incomplete data. And yet, inexplicably, the North Atlantic’s vital carbon-absorbing function remains critically under-observed.

This gap is an unacceptable risk and represents potentially the most significant miscalculation of global climate change policy by the numbers.

The Ocean Frontier Institute has a solution. A focused ocean observation effort will provide vital monitoring and offer accurate measurement of the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon. Such an exemplar would allow decision makers to benefit from near-real-time assessment of how the ocean is changing the global carbon budget. Data produced will also create the scientific baseline to measure the effectiveness of innovative technologies including Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). For governments and financial institutions, it is essential that investments are focused in the best place to ensure climate targets are met.