10.5194/bg-7-2581-2010

A mechanistic account of increasing seasonal variations in the rate of ocean uptake of anthropogenic carbon

Abstract

A three-dimensional circulation model that includes a representation of anthropogenic carbon as a passive tracer is forced with climatological buoyancy and momentum fluxes. This simulation is then used to compute offline the anthropogenic Δ<i>p</i>CO<sub>2</sub> (defined as the difference between the atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> and its seawater partial pressure) trends over three decades between the years 1970 and 2000. It is shown that the mean increasing trends in Δ<i>p</i>CO<sub>2</sub> reflects an increase of the seasonal amplitude of Δ<i>p</i>CO<sub>2</sub>. In particular, the ocean uptake of anthropogenic CO<sub>2</sub> is decreasing (negative trends in Δ<i>p</i>CO<sub>2</sub>) in boreal (austral) summer in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere in the subtropical gyres between 20° N (S) and 40° N (S). In our simulation, the increased amplitude of the seasonal trends of the Δ<i>p</i>CO<sub>2</sub> is mainly explained by the seasonal sea surface temperature (SST) acting on the anthropogenic increase of the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). It is also shown that the seasonality of the anthropogenic DIC has very little effect on the decadal trends. Finally, an observing system for <i>p</i>CO<sub>2</sub> that is biased towards summer measurements may be underestimating uptake of anthropogenic CO<sub>2</sub> by about 0.6 PgC yr<sup>−1</sup> globally over the period of the WOCE survey in the mid-1990s according to our simulations. This bias associated with summer measurements should be expected to grow larger in time and underscores the need for surface CO<sub>2</sub> measurements that resolve the seasonal cycle throughout much of the extratropical oceans

Similar works

This paper was published in Directory of Open Access Journals.

Having an issue?

Is data on this page outdated, violates copyrights or anything else? Report the problem now and we will take corresponding actions after reviewing your request.