Global ocean storage of anthropogenic carbon

Khatiwala, S., Tanhua, Toste, Fletcher, S. Mikaloff, Gerber, M., Doney, S. C., Graven, H. D., Gruber, N., McKinley, G. A., Murata, A., Ríos, A. F. and Sabine, C. L. (2013) Global ocean storage of anthropogenic carbon Biogeosciences (BG), 10 (4). pp. 2169-2191. DOI 10.5194/bg-10-2169-2013.

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The global ocean is a significant sink for anthropogenic carbon (C-ant), absorbing roughly a third of human CO2 emitted over the industrial period. Robust estimates of the magnitude and variability of the storage and distribution of C-ant in the ocean are therefore important for understanding the human impact on climate. In this synthesis we review observational and model-based estimates of the storage and transport of C-ant in the ocean. We pay particular attention to the uncertainties and potential biases inherent in different inference schemes. On a global scale, three data-based estimates of the distribution and inventory of C-ant are now available. While the inventories are found to agree within their uncertainty, there are considerable differences in the spatial distribution. We also present a review of the progress made in the application of inverse and data assimilation techniques which combine ocean interior estimates of C-ant with numerical ocean circulation models. Such methods are especially useful for estimating the air-sea flux and interior transport of C-ant, quantities that are otherwise difficult to observe directly. However, the results are found to be highly dependent on modeled circulation, with the spread due to different ocean models at least as large as that from the different observational methods used to estimate C-ant. Our review also highlights the importance of repeat measurements of hydro-graphic and biogeochemical parameters to estimate the storage of C-ant on decadal timescales in the presence of the variability in circulation that is neglected by other approaches. Data-based C-ant estimates provide important constraints on forward ocean models, which exhibit both broad similarities and regional errors relative to the observational fields. A compilation of inventories of C-ant gives us a "best" estimate of the global ocean inventory of anthropogenic carbon in 2010 of 155 +/- 31 PgC (+/- 20% uncertainty). This estimate includes a broad range of values, suggesting that a combination of approaches is necessary in order to achieve a robust quantification of the ocean sink of anthropogenic CO2.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000318434200001
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-CH Chemical Oceanography
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R05
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.5194/bg-10-2169-2013
ISSN: 1726-4170
Projects: COCOS, CARBOCHANGE, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 08:00
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2017 19:22

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