Trends and variability in the ocean carbon sink

Gruber, Nicolas, Bakker, Dorothee C. E. ORCID:, DeVries, Tim, Gregor, Luke, Hauck, Judith, Landschützer, Peter, McKinley, Galen A. and Müller, Jens Daniel (2023) Trends and variability in the ocean carbon sink. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 4 (2). 119–134. ISSN 2662-138X

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The ocean has absorbed 25 ± 2% of the total anthropogenic CO2 emissions from the early 1960s to the late 2010s, with rates more than tripling over this period and with a mean uptake of –2.7 ± 0.3 Pg C year–1 for the period 1990 through 2019. This growth of the ocean sink matches expectations based on the increase in atmospheric CO2, but research has shown that the sink is more variable than long assumed. In this Review, we discuss trends and variations in the ocean carbon sink. The sink stagnated during the 1990s with rates hovering around –2 Pg C year–1, but strengthened again after approximately 2000, taking up around –3 Pg C year–1 for 2010–2019. The most conspicuous changes in uptake occurred in the high latitudes, especially the Southern Ocean. These variations are caused by changes in weather and climate, but a volcanic eruption-induced reduction in the atmospheric CO2 growth rate and the associated global cooling contributed as well. Understanding the variability of the ocean carbon sink is crucial for policy making and projecting its future evolution, especially in the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change stocktaking activities and the deployment of CO2 removal methods. This goal will require a global-level effort to sustain and expand the current observational networks and to better integrate these observations with models.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: N.G., J.D.M., L.G. and P.L. acknowledge support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 821003 (project 4C). N.G. also acknowledges support from the EU Horizon project no. 821001 (SO-CHIC). The work of D.C.E.B. was supported by the EU Horizon project no. 820989 (COMFORT). The work reflects only the authors’ views; the European Commission and their executive agency are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information the work contains. G.A.M. acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through LEAP STC (2019625) and OCE (1948624), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (80NSSC22K0150) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (NA20OAR4310340). J.H. received funding from the Helmholtz Young Investigator Group Marine Carbon and Ecosystem Feedbacks in the Earth System (MarESys) (grant number VH-NG-1301). T.D. acknowledges support from NSF award OCE-1948955.
Uncontrolled Keywords: ocean carbon uptake,carbon dioxide,earth-surface processes,pollution,nature and landscape conservation,atmospheric science,sdg 13 - climate action,4*,3* ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1900/1904
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2023 12:30
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2023 01:18
DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000595538

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