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UNESCO Announces Release of Surface Ocean Carbon Atlas

UNESCO16 March 2012: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural (UNESCO) has announced the launch of the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT), which provides 40-year record of carbon dioxide accumulation in the surface ocean.

The dataset was assembled by a team of over 100 scientific experts from around the world, coordinated by scientists from various universities and research centers, as well as the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP) of UNESCO IOC. SOCAT, which is freely available to scientists and the general public, comprises 6.3 million global observations made from research vessels, commercial ships and moorings around the world since 1968.

The project aims to ensure long-term access to high quality, regularly updated surface ocean carbon dioxide data. Potential applications include carbon budgets, studies of seasonal, year-to-year and decadal variation in oceanic carbon dioxide uptake, and research into the processes driving these. According to UNESCO, documenting changes in ocean carbon is key for assessing the feedbacks between climate change and the ocean carbon cycle. [UNESCO Press Release] [SOCAT Website]