Water Mass Analysis of Effect of Climate Change on Air–Sea CO2Fluxes: The Southern Ocean

Séférian, Roland; Iudicone, Daniele; Bopp, Laurent; Roy, Tilla; Madec, Gurvan. 2012 Water Mass Analysis of Effect of Climate Change on Air–Sea CO2Fluxes: The Southern Ocean. Journal of Climate, 25 (11). 3894-3908.

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Impacts of climate change on air–sea CO2 exchange are strongly region dependent, particularly in the Southern Ocean. Yet, in the Southern Ocean the role of water masses in the uptake of anthropogenic carbon is still debated. Here, a methodology is applied that tracks the carbon flux of each Southern Ocean water mass in response to climate change. A global marine biogeochemical model was coupled to a climate model, making 140-yr Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5)-type simulations, where atmospheric CO2 increased by 1% yr−1 to 4 times the preindustrial concentration (4 × CO2). Impacts of atmospheric CO2 (carbon-induced sensitivity) and climate change (climate-induced sensitivity) on the water mass carbon fluxes have been isolated performing two sensitivity simulations. In the first simulation, the atmospheric CO2 influences solely the marine carbon cycle, while in the second simulation, it influences both the marine carbon cycle and earth’s climate. At 4 × CO2, the cumulative carbon uptake by the Southern Ocean reaches 278 PgC, 53% of which is taken up by modal and intermediate water masses. The carbon-induced and climate-induced sensitivities vary significantly between the water masses. The carbon-induced sensitivities enhance the carbon uptake of the water masses, particularly for the denser classes. But, enhancement strongly depends on the water mass structure. The climate-induced sensitivities either strengthen or weaken the carbon uptake and are influenced by local processes through changes in CO2 solubility and stratification, and by large-scale changes in outcrop surface (OS) areas. Changes in OS areas account for 45% of the climate-induced reduction in the Southern Ocean carbon uptake and are a key factor in understanding the future carbon uptake of the Southern Ocean.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: NOC Programmes
ISSN: 08948755
Additional Keywords: Ocean dynamics, Atmosphere-ocean interaction, Carbon dioxide, Climate change, Climate sensitivity, Feedback
Date made live: 25 Jun 2012 15:44 +0 (UTC)

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