Multidecadal changes in biology influence the variability of the North Atlantic carbon sink

Ostle, Clare, Landschützer, Peter, Edwards, Martin, Johnson, Martin, Schmidtko, Sunke, Schuster, Ute, Watson, Andrew J and Robinson, Carol ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3033-4565 (2022) Multidecadal changes in biology influence the variability of the North Atlantic carbon sink. Environmental Research Letters, 17 (11). ISSN 1748-9326

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Abstract

The North Atlantic Ocean is the most intense marine sink for anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) in the world's oceans, showing high variability and substantial changes over recent decades. However, the contribution of biology to the variability and trend of this sink is poorly understood. Here we use in situ plankton measurements, alongside observation-based sea surface CO2 data from 1982 to 2020, to investigate the biological influence on the CO2 sink. Our results demonstrate that long term variability in the CO2 sink in the North Atlantic is associated with changes in phytoplankton abundance and community structure. These data show that within the subpolar regions of the North Atlantic, phytoplankton biomass is increasing, while a decrease is observed in the subtropics, which supports model predictions of climate-driven changes in productivity. These biomass trends are synchronous with increasing temperature, changes in mixing and an increasing uptake of atmospheric CO2 in the subpolar North Atlantic. Our results highlight that phytoplankton play a significant role in the variability as well as the trends of the CO2 uptake from the atmosphere over recent decades.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: Funding that supports the running of the Volunteer Observing Shipping network used in this project includes EU 264879 (CARBOCHANGE), EU Grant 212196 (COCOS), and UK NERC Grant NE/H017046/1 (UKOARP), DEFRA UK ME-5308, NSF USA OCE-1657887, DFO CA F5955-150026/001/HAL, Climate Linked Atlantic Sector Science (CLASS) UK NERC Grant NE/R015953/1, Horizon 2020: 862428 Atlantic Mission, IMR Norway, and DTU Aqua Denmark. Funding for this project was provided by NERC Grant reference NE/J500069/1. P L is supported by the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science. M J was supported by NERC Grant NE/K00168X/1 (Data Synthesis and Management of Marine and Coastal Carbon). We thank the many people and funding agencies responsible for the quality control and collection of data for their invaluable work and contributions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: biology,carbon sink,influence,multidecadal,north atlantic,variability,warming,public health, environmental and occupational health,environmental science(all),renewable energy, sustainability and the environment,sdg 14 - life below water,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2739
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2022 18:32
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2023 09:34
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/90310
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac9ecf

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