National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1996

Regional and seasonal variations in the flux of oceanic carbon monoxide to the atmosphere

Bates, T.S., K.C. Kelly, J.E. Johnson, and R.H. Gammon

J. Geophys. Res., 100(D11), 23,093–23,101, doi: 10.1029/95JD02737 (1995)

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced photochemically in the surface ocean and emitted to the atmosphere. To assess the magnitude of this ocean-atmosphere flux, seawater and atmospheric CO mole fractions were measured on six cruises throughout the Pacific Ocean from 1987 to 1994. The results showed consistent regional and seasonal variations in surface seawater CO concentrations with daily averaged concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 4.7 nM. Based on the concentration fields, the data were divided into four seasons and 10 latitude zones from 75°S to 75°N. Using monthly Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set wind and surface seawater temperature data and the Wanninkhof [1992] wind speed/transfer velocity relationship, the calculated zonal average fluxes ranged from 0.25 to 13 µmol/m2/d. The combined seasonal and zonal fluxes result in a total global flux of 0.46 Tmol CO/y with 2/3 of this flux in the southern hemisphere. The estimated uncertainty in this number is approximately a factor of 2.

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