Dr. Richard Alan Feely

Dr. Richard Alan Feely
Senior Scientist
Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Ocean Climate Research Division
7600 Sand Point Way NE
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Fields of interest
Ocean carbon uptake and redistribution in the global ocean, air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide, ocean acidification processes and carbonate dissolution.
Description of scientific projects
The oceans play a critical role in the global carbon cycle, currently absorbing about 26% of the CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning, cement production and deforestation with approximately 44% of this anthropogenic CO2 remaining in the atmosphere. The data-based estimates of terrestrial uptake are done by difference between the anthropogenic sources and ocean and atmosphere sinks, which suggest a terrestrial uptake of CO2 of approximately 30%. Better constraints on the fluxes into the oceanic and atmospheric reservoirs, and fossil fuel CO2 release are currently the only means to improve accuracy of the terrestrial carbon uptake. Improved constraints on oceanic and atmospheric concentrations can provide more accurate projections of future atmospheric CO2 levels that will be paramount for determining the efficacy of CO2 mitigation strategies. In 2015, the magnitude of the ocean sink was greater than the total fossil fuel emission from North America. Of particular note is that the current uncertainty in the ocean sink is comparable to the cumulative emissions from all of Europe. High-resolution time-series of CO2 from moorings and broader coverage from ships and profiling floats are essential for characterizing the natural variability in the ocean carbon cycle and for determining the physical and biological mechanisms controlling the system. Advancing our scientific understanding of the ocean carbon cycle and how it is changing over time supports NOAA's commitment to improve the Nation's ability to anticipate and respond to climate change, and to conserve and manage healthy oceans, coastal ecosystems, and marine resources.