Enhanced Open Ocean Storage of CO2 from Shelf Sea Pumping

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Science  14 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5673, pp. 1005-1008
DOI: 10.1126/science.1095491

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Seasonal field observations show that the North Sea, a Northern European shelf sea, is highly efficient in pumping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to the North Atlantic Ocean. The bottom topography–controlled stratification separates production and respiration processes in the North Sea, causing a carbon dioxide increase in the subsurface layer that is ultimately exported to the North Atlantic Ocean. Globally extrapolated, the net uptake of carbon dioxide by coastal and marginal seas is about 20% of the world ocean's uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, thus enhancing substantially the open ocean carbon dioxide storage.

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