06/12/2023 | The eighth World Ocean Review (WOR) was recently published, this year on the topic of "Climate saviour ocean? How the ocean should absorb (even) more carbon dioxide". This WOR explains the role of the ocean in the Earth's carbon cycle and presents the benefits, risks and knowledge gaps of the main ocean-based carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) processes.
Two ZMT scientists, Prof. Dr. Martin Zimmer and Mirco Wölfelschneider, contributed significantly to the creation of this WOR with their expertise. Biologist Martin Zimmer heads the "Mangrove Ecology" working group at ZMT and is a member of the Mangrove Expert Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In the coastal regions of the tropics, he and his team analyze among other things the decomposition processes of the organic material, the carbon content in the soil and the interactions between the organisms in the species-rich mangrove forests. Mirco Wölfelschneider is a research assistant in the "Mangrove Ecology" working group and is investigating the exchange of organic material between mangroves and coastal waters for his doctoral thesis.
The report explains the urgency of effective climate protection measures and how the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide and stores it for a long time. It describes the CO2 uptake potential of terrestrial vegetation, discusses why the ocean has become a focus for climate action and then details promising marine CO2 removal and storage techniques, ranging from the restoration and expansion of species-rich coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, to interventions in marine chemistry and CO2 storage in the deep ocean subsurface. He concludes by discussing important guiding principles and rules that scientists believe must be established should society one day decide to use marine CDR methods.
The WOR is published every two years in German and English and is read worldwide by interested parties from politics, business and civil society. It provides up-to-date background knowledge on relevant marine topics and is aimed at anyone who wants to have a say in marine protection and use. WOR's partners are mare (Zeitschrift der Meere), KDM (Konsortium Deutsche Meeresforschung), IOI (International Ocean Institute) and Future Ocean (science network).