Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019LA115B

Simulation of air-sea-ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange in the Gulf Coast

Institute: Louisiana
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-03-01 End Date: 2020-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $30,029

Principal Investigators: Hongliang Zhang

Abstract: The accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere due to human activities is of major environmental concern since its role in global climate change. The additional CO2 is partitioned between the atmosphere, terrestrials and ocean. Coastal and marginal seas are essential intermediaries in global carbon cycle between them. However, no studies have applied models coupling ocean, atmosphere, and ecosystems in coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico. In this project, we aim to build a coupled air-sea-ecosystem model firstly to better simulate the CO2 cycling and understand the potential changes to the costal environment with increasing CO2 emissions in future. The model includes the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model coupled with Chemistry (WRF/Chem) and the Regional Ocean Modeling System (RMOS) model. The CO2 emission from anthropogenic sources will be generated from Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR). The hypotheses include (1) the novel coupled model of air-sea-ecosystem for the first time would better predict the CO2 level in ocean and atmosphere, and (2) the Gulf coastal area plays significant in CO2 cycling, ocean change, and ecosystems. Estimating exchange of CO2 and other chemicals between air and sea would help determining the role of each component and provide insight into future changes, and would ultimately help to close the gaps. The research also opens additional areas for further exploration when the deposition of air pollutants to ocean and emission of ocean pollutants to atmosphere are incorporated.