Two decades of ocean CO2 sink and variability

Le Quere, C ORCID:, Aumont, O, Bopp, L, Bousquet, P, Ciais, P, Francey, R, Heimann, M, Keeling, CD, Keeling, RF, Kheshgi, H, Peylin, P, Piper, SC, Prentice, IC and Rayner, PJ (2003) Two decades of ocean CO2 sink and variability. Tellus B, 55 (2). pp. 649-656. ISSN 0280-6509

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Atmospheric CO2 has increased at a nearly identical average rate of 3.3 and 3.2 Pg C yr-1 for the decades of the 1980s and the 1990s, in spite of a large increase in fossil fuel emissions from 5.4 to 6.3 Pg C yr-1. Thus, the sum of the ocean and land CO2 sinks was 1 Pg C yr-1 larger in the 1990s than in to the 1980s. Here we quantify the ocean and land sinks for these two decades using recent atmospheric inversions and ocean models. The ocean and land sinks are estimated to be, respectively, 0.3 (0.1 to 0.6) and 0.7 (0.4 to 0.9) Pg C yr-1 larger in the 1990s than in the 1980s. When variability less than 5 yr is removed, all estimates show a global oceanic sink more or less steadily increasing with time, and a large anomaly in the land sink during 1990-1994. For year-to-year variability, all estimates show 1/3 to 1/2 less variability in the ocean than on land, but the amplitude and phase of the oceanic variability remain poorly determined. A mean oceanic sink of 1.9 Pg C yr-1 for the 1990s based on O2 observations corrected for ocean outgassing is supported by these estimates, but an uncertainty on the mean value of the order of ±0.7 Pg C yr-1 remains. The difference between the two decades appears to be more robust than the absolute value of either of the two decades.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Depositing User: Rosie Cullington
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2011 06:56
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2023 23:42
DOI: 10.3402/tellusb.v55i2.16719

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