Why we care
There are several challenges that can limit the efficiency and effectiveness of marine carbon dioxide removal methods. One potential consequence of some methods is increased growth of organisms that build shells out of calcium carbonate, or calcification (shell building). Calcification releases carbon dioxide into seawater, which may reduce the efficiency of carbon removal projects. This project will explore the potential impacts of increased calcification using ocean model simulations.
What we will do
“We need to make sure various ocean alkalinity enhancement techniques not only take up the carbon we expect in the short term, but also hold on to that carbon for hundreds of years” says Dr. Kelly Kearny of the University of Washington CIOCES. “Our project will calculate how big an effect impacts to calcification could potentially have on long-term carbon uptake.” The team will use simulations from two different model frameworks to identify a range of efficiency reductions that could come from calcification. Simulations will be based on proposed real-world applications of marine carbon removal. Accurate estimation of efficiency and the uncertainty of efficiency will be important to determine the value of carbon removal credits in market settings. In addition to testing this important feedback, researchers will also explore natural processes that mimic this calcification feedback with existing ocean carbon data.
Benefit of our work
This project may inform carbon markets and carbon prices/discounts for ocean carbon dioxide removal projects. These results could provide an important way of setting the price – or discount rate. Models like the one produced here are important because the long time scales and large spatial scales involved in this process make it very difficult to measure in a laboratory or at sea.
Award amount: $1,250,482
Funding source(s): NOAA
IRA funding? Yes
Project duration: 4 years
Kelly Kearney, University of Washington (CICOES)
Brendan Carter, University of Washington
Kristen Krumhardt, National Center For Atmospheric Research
Darren Pilcher, University of Washington