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The reinvigoration of the Southern Ocean carbon sink

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Science  11 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6253, pp. 1221-1224
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab2620

Uptake uptick

Has global warming slowed the uptake of atmospheric CO2 by the Southern Ocean? Landschützer et al. say no (see the Perspective by Fletcher). Previous work suggested that the strength of the Southern Ocean carbon sink fell during the 1990s. This raised concerns that such a decline would exacerbate the rise of atmospheric CO2 and thereby increase global surface air temperatures and ocean acidity. The newer data show that the Southern Ocean carbon sink strengthened again over the past decade, which illustrates the dynamic nature of the process and alleviates some of the anxiety about its earlier weakening trend.

Science, this issue p. 1221; see also p. 1165

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