Australia’s land and ocean carbon and acidification

Australia’s oceans and land absorb a significant amount of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Quantifying and tracking carbon sources and sinks is important for understanding where carbon emissions are produced, where they go and how they are changing. This informs the development of global and regional carbon budgets that help the global community understand the mitigation effort required to keep warming below the Paris Agreement temperature targets. As climate change impacts our natural and built systems, tracking the sources and sinks of emissions can also help to identify where carbon stocks may be vulnerable under climate change, and where efforts to protect, conserve and enhance these systems could be focused for improved mitigation benefits. This will help to support the design of national climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The Climate Systems Hub is working with federal, state and territory governments and the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub to scope and plan carbon-related research. We’re tracking the sources and sinks of carbon emissions to update, refine and expand the existing national carbon budget. To do this, we’re collaborating with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and engaging with university researchers and international partners to estimate changes in Australia’s carbon emissions. We’re also contributing to international carbon initiatives such as the Global Carbon Project and the global stocktake of the Paris Agreement.

Working with other NESP Hubs and coastal managers, we’re also assessing the vulnerability of the ocean to increasing acidification, including how ocean acidification varies and the risk it presents to Australia’s marine ecosystems and natural resource management.

Ocean acidification, which is caused by uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the ocean, poses significant and long-lasting risks to marine ecosystems, and the species, communities and industries they support.

This project will identify and co-design priority carbon-related research for the Hub. It will produce spatial maps of Australia’s continental carbon budget and will document the findings of a regional ocean acidification analysis.

For more information: 
Want to know more? Please contact the project leads:
Pep Canadell and Elizabeth Shandwick, CSIRO


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