Caldeira Lab Research:Energy, Global Carbon Cycle, and Climate

Ocean Storage of CO2

E.E. Adams & K. Caldeira

A review paper that examines the possibility of storing CO2 in deep ocean waters

Adams, EE, Caldeira, K, 2008. Ocean Storage Of CO2, Elements 4 (5):319-324, DOI: 10.2113/gselements.4.5.319.

FIGURE: Comparison of ten model simulations, denoted by abbreviations (Orr 2004), showing as a function of time the amount of CO2 that never reaches the ocean surface, for injection events at depths of 800 m, 1500 m, and 3000 m. Results are averaged over seven injection locations. Most of the CO2 that does reach the surface remains in the ocean (TABLE 1), so the total retained is greater than shown here.


One method for minimizing climate change is to capture CO2 from power plants and inject it into the deep ocean, thus reducing the magnitude and rate of change of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and the surface ocean. Many discharge options are possible, with varied mixing and retention characteristics. The ocean's capacity is vast, and mathematical models suggest that injected CO2 could remain sequestered for several hundred years. While theoretical and laboratory studies support the viability of ocean storage, field experiments are necessary to realistically evaluate the environmental impact.