The Deep Carbon Observatory – A New Science Initiative

Dr. Connie Bertka

Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) is an international, multi-disciplinary, decade long effort dedicated to achieving a transformational understanding of carbon’s chemical and biological roles in Earth’s interior. The DCO Secretariat is located at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory and was established in September 2009 with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Secretariat will play a central role in coordinating the efforts of an international community to identify scientific needs and opportunities in deep carbon science. A Founders Committee, with both international and scientific breadth, is helping to guide this effort. The research of the DCO is being organized around three Science Directorates; Deep Carbon Reservoirs and Fluxes, Deep Life, and Energy Environment and Climate; working groups for each directorate are meeting to identify decadel challenges and goals of the program. Coincident with these efforts, numerous workshops, conferences, and symposia have taken place or are underway. This new initiative provides an international science community with an opportunity to address fundamental questions about carbon in the Earth.