OC3 - Ocean Circulation and Carbon Cycling


OC3 focusses on reconstructing ocean circulation and carbon cycling over the last 20,000 years by synthesizing carbon isotopes (d13C) measured on shells of benthic foraminifera from sediments of all ocean basins. More than 90 international scientists are involved.
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- To synthesize core-top data and compare to water-column measurements for a new global calibration.
- To synthesize down-core data and create an easily updatable database with consistent age models and uncertainty estimates.
- To analyze the down-core database and compare it with model results in order to better understand and quantify changes in ocean circulation and carbon cycling during the past 20,000 years.


Ayako Abe-Ouchi (steering group member, modeling)
Stephen Barker (SGM, Atlantic)
Lorraine Lisiecki (SGM)
Katrin Meissner (SGM, PAGES SSC liason)
Elisabeth Michel (SGM, Southern Ocean)
Alan Mix (SGM, Pacific)
Carrie Morrill (SGM, NOAA Paleoclimate liason)
Stefan Mulitza (SGM, S. Atlantic)
Janne Repschläger (SGM, N. Atlantic)
Andreas Schmittner (chair)
Claire Waelbroeck (SGM, N. Atlantic)


June 2014

Changes in the amount of carbon stored in the oceans are thought to have played an important role in past variations of atmospheric CO2 and climate. Deep circulation controls the ocean's storage and redistribution of heat and carbon. Climate changes in turn affect physical (e.g. dust and iron supply, mixing, upwelling) and biological (e.g. plankton productivity) processes in the oceans.

Recent model simulations imply that a combination of these processes could explain glacial-interglacial CO2 variations. New paleo data reveal the transition of circulation, atmospheric CO2, and climate from the Last Glacial Maximum (~21,000 years ago) to the present in unprecedented detail including several rapid changes; however, the evidence from the deep ocean is still extremely limited.

Link to the external OC3 website.

OC3img-d13c xav t3

Observed δ13C distribution in the water column (top; Schmittner et al. 2013) and in surface (Late Holocene) sediments (second from top), in LGM sediments (third from top), and the LGM-LH difference (bottom) (Schmittner, PAGES News (2012), 20:1, 17)

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Download the OC3 logo (png) (zip).

Publications and presentations

> Report on Preliminary Database (Atlantic) by Emma Gleeman (Research Experience for Undergraduates Student Summer 2015)
> Report on Preliminary Database (Indian & Pacific) by Aaron Rachels (Research Experience for Undergraduates Student Summer 2015)
> Poster at AGU Fall Meeting 2015 - Global Calibration of Benthic Foranimiferal Carbon Isotope Ratios.

Meeting minutes

> November 2015
> September 2015