National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2005

The global ocean carbon cycle: Inventories, sources and sinks

Feely, R., and R. Wanninkhof

In The State of the Ocean and the Ocean Observing System for Climate, Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2004, NOAA/OGP/Office of Climate Observation, Section 2.5, 42–56 (2005)

The ocean plays a major role in the global carbon cycle as it is a vast reservoir of carbon, naturally exchanges carbon with the atmosphere, and consequently takes up a substantial portion of anthropogenic carbon from the atmosphere. In response to the need for an integrated investigation of the carbon cycle in the oceans, the CLIVAR/CO Repeat Hydrography and NOAA Underway pCO Measurements Programs were established to document the trends in carbon uptake and transport in the global oceans. The CLIVAR/CO Repeat Hydrography Program consists of a systematic re-occupation of select hydrographic sections to quantify global changes in storage and transport of heat, fresh water, carbon dioxide (CO), chlorofluorocarbon tracers and related parameters. Three North Atlantic cruises in 2003 marked the beginning of the US effort by reoccupying selected hydrographic sections on decadal time-scales. Early results from these cruises showed significant changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide and several other measurable parameters since the last global survey in the 1990s. The increases of DIC in the Subtropical Mode waters (STMW) are greater than expected from invasion of anthropogenic CO from the atmosphere and may be the result of decadal changes in the local circulation in the North Atlantic.

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