Revised estimates of ocean-atmosphere CO2 flux are consistent with ocean carbon inventory

Type Article
Date 2020-09
Language English
Author(s) Watson Andrew J.1, Schuster Ute1, Shutler Jamie D.1, Holding Thomas1, Ashton Ian1, Landschuetzer Peter2, Woolf David K.3, Goddijn-Murphy LonnekeORCID4
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Exeter, Coll Life & Environm Sci, Exeter, Devon, England.
2 : Max Planck Inst Meteorol, Bunderstr 53, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany.
3 : Heriot Watt Univ, Int Ctr Isl Technol, Stromness, Orkney, England.
4 : Univ Highlands & Isl, Environm Res Inst, Ormlie Rd, Thurso, Scotland.
Source Nature Communications (2041-1723) (Nature Publishing Group), 2020-09 , Vol. 11 , N. 1 , P. 4422 (6p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-18203-3
WOS© Times Cited 98

The ocean is a sink for similar to 25% of the atmospheric CO2 emitted by human activities, an amount in excess of 2 petagrams of carbon per year (PgCyr(-1)). Time-resolved estimates of global ocean-atmosphere CO2 flux provide an important constraint on the global carbon budget. However, previous estimates of this flux, derived from surface ocean CO2 concentrations, have not corrected the data for temperature gradients between the surface and sampling at a few meters depth, or for the effect of the cool ocean surface skin. Here we calculate a time history of ocean-atmosphere CO2 fluxes from 1992 to 2018, corrected for these effects. These increase the calculated net flux into the oceans by 0.8-0.9 PgC yr(-1), at times doubling uncorrected values. We estimate uncertainties using multiple interpolation methods, finding convergent results for fluxes globally after 2000, or over the Northern Hemisphere throughout the period. Our corrections reconcile surface uptake with independent estimates of the increase in ocean CO2 inventory, and suggest most ocean models underestimate uptake.

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Watson Andrew J., Schuster Ute, Shutler Jamie D., Holding Thomas, Ashton Ian, Landschuetzer Peter, Woolf David K., Goddijn-Murphy Lonneke (2020). Revised estimates of ocean-atmosphere CO2 flux are consistent with ocean carbon inventory. Nature Communications, 11(1), 4422 (6p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :