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Queensland: Lab simulates climate change

Brisbane (global-adventures.us) : During a world first, a replacement ‘state of the art’ global climate change experimental facility has been completed at the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Heron Island Research Station. The global climate change Mesocosm (CCM) project led by professor Sophie Dove and Dr. David Kline from the worldwide Change Institute’s (GCI) reef Ecosystems Laboratory is one among the most important. Also most accurately controlled ocean acidification and warming experimental systems within the world. It simulates ocean temperatures and acidification levels predicted to occur on coral reefs within the next 50 to 100 years.

Able to regulate both

temperature and CO2 (CO2) levels prescribed by the 2100 Intergovernmental Panel on global climate change (IPCC) scenarios during a highly controlled environment. The CCM system allows researchers to review global climate change from the molecular to the ecosystem level.

While almost like the “Free Ocean Carbon Enrichment” (FOCE) project, recently featured in Sir David Attenborough’s documentary “Death of the Oceans”, the CCM differs therein it regulates the temperature and therefore the acidification levels above and below the present ambient conditions of water on the reef. It is exclusive in thus far because the experimental controls allow variation with reference to real-time conditions of CO2. Temperature is measured within the adjacent deepwater of Wistari channel. Conditions within the 72 experimental aquaria and 12 mini-reefs can then fluctuate. A hard and fast amount above or below the ambient control conditions. It is importantly incorporate a day/night and seasonal variability.

The main components

of the system are four 7,500 liter custom built air-tight. It is insulated fiber-glass tanks or sumps. Which give the required duration of the water for the fine control of CO2 and temperature. The research is simulating preindustrial ocean conditions, an impact treatment of current reef CO2 and temperature. Various possible future scenarios with increased levels of CO2 and better temperatures.

In the eight months the FOCE system has been on the reef flat we’ve noticed the corals exposed to the upper CO2 levels look quite different. The kinds of algae are different and therefore the rate of growth of the coral appears to possess slowed. We expect to ascertain similar results from the CCM experiments where reef organisms answer the twin influences of acidification and temperature.

gbusa

Chief Editor at Global Adventures Magazine

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