Global autocorrelation scales of the partial pressure of oceanic CO2

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Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans
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Aug 4
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A global database of approximately 1.7 million observations of the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in surface ocean waters (pCO(2)) collected between 1970 and 2003 is used to estimate its spatial autocorrelation structure. The patterns of the lag distance where the autocorrelation exceeds 0.8 is similar to patterns in the spatial distribution of the first baroclinic Rossby radius of deformation indicating that ocean circulation processes play a significant role in determining the spatial variability of pCO(2). Separate calculations for times when the Sun is north and south of the equator revealed no obvious seasonal dependence of the spatial autocorrelation scales. The pCO(2) measurements at Ocean Weather Station (OWS) "P'' in the eastern subarctic Pacific (50 degrees N, 145 degrees W) is the only fixed location where an uninterrupted time series of sufficient length exists to calculate a meaningful temporal autocorrelation function for lags greater than a few days. The estimated temporal autocorrelation function at OWS "P'' is highly variable. A spectral analysis of the longest four pCO(2) time series indicates a high level of variability occurring over periods from the atmospheric synoptic to the maximum length of the time series, in this case 42 days. It is likely that a relative peak in variability with a period of 3-6 days is related to atmospheric synoptic period variability and ocean mixing events due to wind stirring. However, the short length of available time series makes identifying temporal relationships between pCO(2) and atmospheric or ocean processes problematic.


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Doi 10.1029/2004gc002723