Impact of Weddell Sea deep convection on natural and anthropogenic carbon in a climate model

Bernardello, Raffaele; Marinov, Irina; Palter, Jaime B.; Galbraith, Eric D.; Sarmiento, Jorge L.. 2014 Impact of Weddell Sea deep convection on natural and anthropogenic carbon in a climate model. Geophysical Research Letters, 41 (20). 7262-7269.

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A climate model is used to investigate the influence of Weddell Sea open ocean deep convection on anthropogenic and natural carbon uptake for the period 1860–2100. In a three-member ensemble climate change simulation, convection ceases on average by year 1981, weakening the net oceanic cumulative uptake of atmospheric CO2 by year 2100 (−4.3 Pg C) relative to an ocean that has continued convection. This net weakening results from a decrease in anthropogenic carbon uptake (−10.1 Pg C), partly offset by an increase in natural carbon storage (+5.8 Pg C). Despite representing only 4% of its area, the Weddell Sea is responsible for 22% of the Southern Ocean decrease in total climate-driven carbon uptake and 52% of the decrease in the anthropogenic component of oceanic uptake. Although this is a model-specific result, it illustrates the potential of deep convection to produce an intermodel spread in future projections of ocean carbon uptake.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00948276
Additional Keywords: open ocean deep convection; carbon uptake; climate change; Weddell sea
Date made live: 15 Dec 2014 09:46 +0 (UTC)

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