National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2004

Global oceanic chlorofluorocarbon inventory

Willey, D.A., R.A. Fine, R.E. Sonnerup, J.L. Bullister, W.M. Smethie, Jr., and M.J. Warner

Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L01303, doi: 10.1029/2003GL018816 (2004)

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) dissolve in the oceans, but the total quantity and spatial distribution in the oceans was not previously known. The first estimate of the global oceanic CFC-11 uptake using field measurements is calculated from WOCE (World Ocean Circulation Experiment) CFC-11 concentrations. Here we find the total oceanic uptake of 5.5 (±1.2) × 108 moles was about 1% of total emissions through 1994. Eighty-two percent of the CFC-11 inventory is in the upper 1000 meters. The CFC inventory distribution implies that the dominant physical air-sea exchange of gases on decadal time scales occurs due to a combination of high gas solubility in cold high latitude waters and effectiveness of the wind-driven circulation. The global inventory provides a benchmark for models simulating climate change.

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