Sea-air CO2 fluxes in the Southern Ocean for the period 1990-2009

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Author(s) Lenton, A., Tilbrook, B., Law, R.M., Bakker, D., Doney, S.C., Gruber, Nicolas, Ishii, M., Hoppema, M., Lovenduski, N.S., Matear, R.J., McNeil, B.I., Metzl, N., Fletcher, S.E.M., Monteiro, P.M.S., Rodenbeck, C., Sweeney, C., Takahashi, T.
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Title Sea-air CO2 fluxes in the Southern Ocean for the period 1990-2009
Author(s) Lenton, A.
Tilbrook, B.
Law, R.M.
Bakker, D.
Doney, S.C.
Gruber, Nicolas
Ishii, M.
Hoppema, M.
Lovenduski, N.S.
Matear, R.J.
McNeil, B.I.
Metzl, N.
Fletcher, S.E.M.
Monteiro, P.M.S.
Rodenbeck, C.
Sweeney, C.
Takahashi, T.
Journal or Series Title Biogeosciences
Volume Number 10
Issue Number 6
Start Page 4037
End Page 4054
ISSN 1726-4170
Publisher Copernicus
Publication Place Göttingen
Publication Date 2013
Abstract The Southern Ocean (44-75 degrees S) plays a critical role in the global carbon cycle, yet remains one of the most poorly sampled ocean regions. Different approaches have been used to estimate sea-air CO2 fluxes in this region: synthesis of surface ocean observations, ocean biogeochemical models, and atmospheric and ocean inversions. As part of the RECCAP (REgional Carbon Cycle Assessment and Processes) project, we combine these different approaches to quantify and assess the magnitude and variability in Southern Ocean sea-air CO2 fluxes between 1990-2009. Using all models and inversions (26), the integrated median annual sea-air CO2 flux of -0.42+/-0.07 Pg C yr(-1) for the 44-75 degrees S region, is consistent with the -0.27+/-0.13 Pg C yr(-1) calculated using surface observations. The circumpolar region south of 58 degrees S has a small net annual flux (model and inversion median: -0.04+/-0.07 Pg C yr(-1) and observations: +0.04+/-0.02 Pg C yr(-1)), with most of the net annual flux located in the 44 to 58 degrees S circumpolar band (model and inversion median: -0.36+/-0.09 Pg C yr(-1) and observations: -0.35+/-0.09 Pg C yr(-1)). Seasonally, in the 44-58 degrees S region, the median of 5 ocean biogeochemical models captures the observed sea-air CO2 flux seasonal cycle, while the median of 11 atmospheric inversions shows little seasonal change in the net flux. South of 58 degrees S, neither atmospheric inversions nor ocean biogeochemical models reproduce the phase and amplitude of the observed seasonal sea-air CO2 flux, particularly in the Austral Winter. Importantly, no individual atmospheric inversion or ocean biogeochemical model is capable of reproducing both the observed annual mean uptake and the observed seasonal cycle. This raises concerns about projecting future changes in Southern Ocean CO2 fluxes. The median interannual variability from atmospheric inversions and ocean biogeochemical models is substantial in the Southern Ocean; up to 25% of the annual mean flux, with 25% of this interannual variability attributed to the region south of 58 degrees S. Resolving long-term trends is difficult due to the large interannual variability and short time frame (1990-2009) of this study; this is particularly evident from the large spread in trends from inversions and ocean biogeochemical models. Nevertheless, in the period 1990-2009 ocean biogeochemical models do show increasing oceanic uptake consistent with the expected increase of -0.05 Pg C yr(-1) decade(-1). In contrast, atmospheric inversions suggest little change in the strength of the CO2 sink broadly consistent with the results of Le Quere et al. (2007).
DOI 10.5194/bg-10-4037-2013
Additional Notes Received 27 November 2012, Published in Biogeosciences Discuss. 8 January 2013, Revised 1 May 2013, Accepted 9 May 2013, Published 19 June 2013
Document Type Article
Publication Status Published
Language English
Assigned Organisational Unit(s) 03731
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NEBIS System Number 006289717
Source Database ID WOS-000321122700038
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  author = "Lenton, A. and Tilbrook, B. and Law, R.M. and Bakker, D. and Doney, S.C. and Gruber, Nicolas and Ishii, M. and Hoppema, M. and Lovenduski, N.S. and Matear, R.J. and McNeil, B.I. and Metzl, N. and Fletcher, S.E.M. and Monteiro, P.M.S. and Rodenbeck, C. and Sweeney, C. and Takahashi, T.",
  title = "{S}ea-air {C}{O}2 fluxes in the {S}outhern {O}cean for the period 1990-2009",
  journal = "Biogeosciences",
  year = 2013,
  volume = "10",
  number = "6",
  pages = "4037--4054",

E-Citations record created: Mon, 02 Sep 2013, 15:42:01 CET