National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2004

An updated anthropogenic CO2 inventory in the Atlantic Ocean

Lee, K., S.-D. Choi, G.-H. Park, R. Wanninkhof, T.-H. Peng, R.M. Key, C.L. Sabine, R.A. Feely, J.L. Bullister, F.J. Millero, and A. Kozyr

Global Biogeochem. Cy., 17(4), 1116, doi: 10.1029/2003GB002067 (2003)

This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the basin-wide inventory of anthropogenic CO in the Atlantic Ocean based on high-quality inorganic carbon, alkalinity, chlorofluorocarbon, and nutrient data collected during the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) Hydrographic Program, the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS), and the Ocean-Atmosphere Carbon Exchange Study (OACES) surveys of the Atlantic Ocean between 1990 and 1998. Anthropogenic CO was separated from the large pool of dissolved inorganic carbon using an extended version of the C* method originally developed by Gruber et al. [1996]. The extension of the method includes the use of an optimum multiparameter analysis to determine the relative contributions from various source water types to the sample on an isopycnal surface. Total inventories of anthropogenic CO in the Atlantic Ocean are highest in the subtropical regions at 20-40 , whereas anthropogenic CO penetrates the deepest in high-latitude regions (>40°N). The deeper penetration at high northern latitudes is largely due to the formation of deep water that feeds the Deep Western Boundary Current, which transports anthropogenic CO into the interior. In contrast, waters south of 50°S in the Southern Ocean contain little anthropogenic CO. Analysis of the data collected during the 1990-1998 period yielded a total anthropogenic CO inventory of 28.4 ± 4.7 Pg C in the North Atlantic (equator-70°N) and of 18.5 ± 3.9 Pg C in the South Atlantic (equator-70°S). These estimated basin-wide inventories of anthropogenic CO are in good agreement with previous estimates obtained by Gruber [1998], after accounting for the difference in observational periods. Our calculation of the anthropogenic CO inventory in the Atlantic Ocean, in conjunction with the inventories calculated previously for the Indian Ocean [Sabine et al., 1999] and for the Pacific Ocean [Sabine et al., 2002], yields a global anthropogenic CO inventory of 112 ± 17 Pg C that has accumulated in the world oceans during the industrial era. This global oceanic uptake accounts for approximately 29% of the total CO emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, land-use changes, and cement production during the past 250 years.

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