The bank for a changing world

From october 6, 2016 to november 1, 2016

A human and scientific adventure

Southern Ocean Mission

Official account

Fondation BNP Paribas

Ends in

  • 5 days

  • 10 hours

The essential

From 6 October to 1 November, a team of scientists from CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research) and UPMC (the Pierre and Marie Curie University) will be embarking on an expedition on the Marion Dufresne, a logistics and oceanographic ship. The expedition is part of the SOCLIM (Southern Ocean and Climate) project, supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation and by IPEV (the French polar Institute Paul-Emile Victor). 

During the one-month voyage, this research vessel, equipped with cutting-edge equipment, will sail the challenging waters of the Southern Ocean, the heart of the oceans, to allow researchers to better understand how it functions and its influence on climate.

Antarctic Peninsula, Penguin colony at Brown BLUFF © Edouard LEYMARIE (Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche-sur-Mer/CNRS/ - Credits: La péninsule antarctique, la manchotière de Brown BLUFF © Edouard LEYMARIE (Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche-sur- Mer/CNRS/cultureocean. com)

Unprecedented data from the Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean plays a central role in the planet’s climate system. Its geographic location places it at the heart of all the oceans, linking the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

It is estimated that it cools the temperature of the equivalent of half of all of the oceans by 2°C, and that its cold waters absorb a very large part of the CO₂ emitted by humans. 

The Southern Ocean’s lack of accessibility due to its remoteness and extreme weather conditions have limited scientific expeditions, and our knowledge of this ocean is still incomplete.

However, one thing is clear: global warming is disrupting all of the ocean’s natural mechanisms

To better understand and document these processes, the team of the SOCLIM project, coordinated by Stéphane Blain of the Laboratory for Microbial Oceanography, Hervé Claustre of the Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche, and Sabrina Speich of ENS Paris are boarding the Marion Dufresne to deploy a new generation of instruments in order to study:

  • 1. Heat and CO₂ exchanges between the atmosphere and the ocean
  • 2. CO₂ storage/sequestration mechanisms in the ocean
  • 3. The bio-optical abnormalities that have been observed on the surface of the Southern Ocean 

Raising public awareness about the challenges of climate change and scientific research

Supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation and Universcience, the SOCLIM team, accompanied by technicians, journalists and students, will cross the Southern Ocean, sailing from Reunion to the Kerguelen Islands.

Yseult Berger (a journalist from Science-Actualité and Julien Boulanger (a photographer) will be sharing their journey of nearly a full month aboard the Marion Dufresne. They will document the expedition through a ship’s log, videos, photos and portraits.

A human and scientific adventure in an environment that's notoriously inaccessible, to remote and mysterious lands.

Learn more about the BNP Paribas Foundation’s Climate Initiative program

Since 2010, the BNP Paribas Foundation has supported research on climate change through its international Climate Initiative program. The aim of this programme is to better understand the impacts of this change in order to predict its consequences for our environment and for populations the world over. Every 3 years, the BNP Paribas Foundation selects and provides financial support for 4 to 7 research projects to improve our knowledge about issues related to climate change.