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SLOW-DOWN OF OCEANIC CO2 UPTAKE IN RESPONSE TO GLOBAL WARMING $0.00
Authors:  Traute Crueger, Erich Roeckner, Reiner Schnur, Thomas Raddatz, and Patrick Wetzel
Abstract:
The continuously increasing emissions of greenhouse gases especially during the last
century led to a rise of atmospheric CO2 from about 280 ppm in 1800 to 379 ppm in
2005. This increase however, accounts only for a portion of the total anthropogenic
emissions, since the rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration is substantially damped by the
ocean. The oceanic CO2 uptake is determined by the state of the ocean, which in turn is
influenced by climate change. We investigate the mechanisms of the ocean’s carbon
uptake within the feedback loop of atmospheric CO2 concentration, climate change and
atmosphere/ocean CO2 flux. For that reason, we evaluate two transient simulations from
1860 until 2100, performed with a version of the Max Planck Institute Earth System
Model (MPI-ESM) with the carbon cycle included. In both experiments observed
anthropogenic CO2 emissions were prescribed until 2000, followed by the emissions
according to the IPCC Scenario A2. In one simulation the radiative forcing of changing
atmospheric CO2 is taken into account (coupled), in the other simulation it is artificially
suppressed (uncoupled). In both simulations, the oceanic carbon uptake increases from 1
Pg C/yr in 1960 to 4.5 Pg C/yr in 2070. Afterwards, this trend weakens in the coupled
simulation, leading to a reduced uptake rate of 10% in 2100 compared to the uncoupled
simulation, thus representing a positive feedback. This includes a partial offset due to
higher atmospheric CO2 concentration in the coupled simulation owing to reduced carbon
uptake by the terrestrial biosphere. The positive feedback is primarily due to fluxes owing
to partial pressure difference and secondary to those due to solubility changes. These
contributions are widely offset by fluxes due to changes of gas transfer velocity following
sea ice melting and the southward shift and intensification of the wind belt in the Southern Hemisphere. The major impact of climate change on oceanic CO2 uptake is
found in the Southern Ocean (-45%) and in the North Atlantic (-30%), related to reduced
vertical mixing and North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, respectively. In the
polar areas, sea ice melting induces additional CO2 uptake (+20%). 


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SLOW-DOWN OF OCEANIC CO2 UPTAKE IN RESPONSE TO GLOBAL WARMING