Low interannual variability in recent oceanic uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide

Publication Status is "Submitted" Or "In Press: 
LDEO Publication: 
Publication Type: 
Year of Publication: 
1998
Editor: 
Journal Title: 
Nature
Journal Date: 
Nov 12
Place Published: 
Tertiary Title: 
Volume: 
396
Issue: 
6707
Pages: 
155-159
Section / Start page: 
Publisher: 
ISBN Number: 
0028-0836
ISSN Number: 
Edition: 
Short Title: 
Accession Number: 
ISI:000077013300048
LDEO Publication Number: 
Call Number: 
Abstract: 

An improved understanding of the partitioning of carbon between the atmosphere, terrestrial biosphere, and ocean allows for more accurate predictions of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations under various fossil-fuel CO2-emission scenarios. One of the more poorly quantified relevant processes is the interannual variability in the uptake of fossil-fuel CO2 from the atmosphere by the terrestrial biosphere and ocean. Existing estimates, based on atmospheric measurements, indicate that the oceanic variability is large(1-3). Here we estimate the interannual variability in global net air-sea CO2 nux using changes in the observed wind speeds and the partial pressure of CO2 (p(co2)) in surface sea water and the overlying air. Changes in seawater P-co2 are deduced from interannual anomalies in sea surface temperature and the regionally and seasonally varying temperature-dependence of seawater P-co2, assuming that variations in sea surface temperature reflect seawater P-co2 changes caused by thermodynamics, biological processes and water mixing. The calculated interannual variability in oceanic CO2 uptake of 0.4 Ct Cyr(-1) (2 sigma) is much less than that inferred from the analysis of atmospheric measurements(1-3). Our results suggest that variable sequestration of carbon by the terrestrial biosphere is the main cause of observed year-to-year variations in the rate of atmospheric CO2 accumulation.

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139DUTimes Cited:67Cited References Count:25

DOI: