National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2003

A first estimate of present and preindustrial air-sea CO2 flux patterns based on ocean interior carbon measurements and models

Gloor, M., N. Gruber, J.L. Sarmiento, C.L. Sabine, R.A. Feely, and C. Rödenbeck

Geophys. Res. Lett., 30(1), 1010, doi: 10.1029/2002GL015594 (2003)

The exchange of CO across the air-sea interface is a main determinant of the distribution of atmospheric CO from which major conclusions about the carbon cycle are drawn, yet our knowledge of atmosphere-ocean fluxes still has major gaps. A new analysis based on recent ocean dissolved inorganic carbon data and on models permits us to separately estimate the preindustrial and present air-sea CO flux distributions without requiring knowledge of the gas exchange coefficient. We find a smaller carbon sink at mid to high latitudes of the southern hemisphere than previous data based estimates and a shift of ocean uptake to lower latitude regions compared to estimates and simulations. The total uptake of anthropogenic CO for 1990 is 1.8 (±0.4) Pg C yr. Our ocean based results support the interpretation of the latitudinal distribution of atmospheric CO data as evidence for a large northern hemisphere land carbon sink.

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