Report

Tracking the Variable North Atlantic Sink for Atmospheric CO2

Science  04 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5958, pp. 1391-1393
DOI: 10.1126/science.1177394

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Abstract

The oceans are a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Historically, observations have been too sparse to allow accurate tracking of changes in rates of CO2 uptake over ocean basins, so little is known about how these vary. Here, we show observations indicating substantial variability in the CO2 uptake by the North Atlantic on time scales of a few years. Further, we use measurements from a coordinated network of instrumented commercial ships to define the annual flux into the North Atlantic, for the year 2005, to a precision of about 10%. This approach offers the prospect of accurately monitoring the changing ocean CO2 sink for those ocean basins that are well covered by shipping routes.

  • Present address: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Postfach 12 01 61, 27515 Bremerhaven, Germany.

View Full Text