The North Atlantic Carbon Observatory (NACO) will provide the ocean information required to support urgent international climate strategies and climate mitigation solutions.
NACO will bring together nations and networks to inspire scientific innovations, pool resources and amplify global expertise of this critical ocean system.
Once underway, NACO’s observations, data synthesis abilities and ocean climate modeling will play a critical role in the development of sustainable ocean policy and provide the required baseline observations to enable safe, effective and verified ocean-based carbon dioxide removal.
The ocean is the largest and most important carbon storage depot on Earth, yet it remains critically under-observed and under measured.
This gap threatens our ability to forecast and respond to climate change accurately and effectively, limiting our ability to set correct climate policy, support human adaptation strategies, and advance climate mitigation solutions.
The proposed North Atlantic Carbon Observatory (NACO) would connect and enhance ocean observation and modelling efforts to allow for more accurate measurements of the ocean’s ability to absorb and store carbon. Observations would be merged into a data factory that allows advanced ocean carbon and climate synthesis and modeling to inform stakeholders.
Although there are existing ocean observation initiatives in the North Atlantic, an integrated and coordinated international observing system does not exist today.
Climate solutions are largely focused on the uptake of carbon on land, and the blue carbon stored within our coastal waters. But more than 90 per cent of carbon is stored in the deep ocean, beyond national jurisdictions, known as deep blue carbon, and safe and responsible ocean-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR) strategies represent a substantial opportunity to achieve the net zero requirement.
There is an urgent need for well-designed, sustained observations to understand the underlying mechanisms behind the ocean’s ability to continue to sequester carbon.
Investment in NACO facilitates more accurate climate forecasts that can significantly help reduce future costs and avoid losses from climate change. In addition, better understanding of current and predictive carbon cycles from NACO can provide the baseline data needed to advance ocean-based CDR markets and spur economic growth in this novel and nascent industry.
An observing network in the North Atlantic would serve as a starting point for global ocean observation.