Sarmiento Home


Jorge L. Sarmiento
Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (Biogeochemistry)

Director of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program

Director of the Cooperative Institute for Climate Science

AOS Program, Princeton University

Sayre Hall, Forrestal Campus
PO Box CN710
Princeton, NJ 08544-0710

Phone: (609) 258-6585


    Research interests are in the biogeochemical cycles of climatically important chemicals such as carbon dioxide, and in the use of chemical tracers to study ocean circulation. The research covers a wide span of processes in ocean chemistry, biology, and circulation in the past, present, and projected future, and includes the effects of anthropogenic perturbations.  Sarmiento heads the multi-institutional Carbon Modeling Consortium, which has the aim of developing an integrated carbon system model capable of providing assessments of the future role of both the ocean and terrestrial biosphere as sinks for anthropogenic carbon.

    Present research includes: (l) Using models and observations to determine the oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuel burning and deforestation.  A carbon measurement program has recently been completed in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Southern Oceans.  (2) Predictions of future atmospheric carbon dioxide levels including the possible effects of changes in ocean circulation and biology resulting from global warming or from direct human intervention.  The coupled atmosphere-ocean-ocean biogeochemistry models developed for this purpose show a large potential impact of greenhouse warming on the ocean carbon cycle.  (3) Use of atmospheric general circulation models constrained with atmospheric CO2 observations to estimate transport of CO2 in the atmosphere and the spatial distribution of anthropogenic carbon uptake by the terrestrial biosphere. (4) Development of biogeochemical process models of photosynthetic uptake of inorganic carbon and the fate of organic carbon as it is cycled through ocean ecosystems back to inorganic carbon or buried in sediments.  (5) Observational and model studies of ocean circulation based on chemical tracer observations such as radiocarbon. (6) Determining the causes of the reduced atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of the last ice age, including studies of the sensitivity of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to changes in ocean biology.

Summary of Accomplishments in 2005

Updated 06/19/07