Circulation-driven variability of Atlantic anthropogenic carbon transports and uptake

Brown, Peter J. ORCID:; McDonagh, Elaine L.; Sanders, Richard ORCID:; Watson, Andrew J.; Wanninkhof, Rik; King, Brian A. ORCID:; Smeed, David A. ORCID:; Baringer, Molly O.; Meinen, Christopher S.; Schuster, Ute; Yool, Andrew ORCID:; Messias, Marie-José. 2021 Circulation-driven variability of Atlantic anthropogenic carbon transports and uptake. Nature Geoscience, 14 (8). 571-577.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
RAPID Carbon fluxes at 26N v19 NORA AAM.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (16MB) | Preview


The ocean absorbs approximately a quarter of the carbon dioxide currently released to the atmosphere by human activities (Canth). A disproportionately large fraction accumulates in the North Atlantic due to the combined effects of transport by the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and air–sea exchange. However, discrepancies exist between modelled and observed estimates of the air–sea exchange due to unresolved ocean transport variability. Here we quantify the strength and variability of Canth transports across 26.5° N in the North Atlantic between 2004 and 2012 using circulation measurements from the RAPID mooring array and hydrographic observations. Over this period, decreasing circulation strength tended to decrease northward Canth transport, while increasing Canth concentrations (preferentially in the upper limb of the overturning circulation) tended to increase northward Canth transport. These two processes compensated each other over the 8.5-year period. While ocean transport and air–sea Canth fluxes are approximately equal in magnitude, the increasing accumulation rate of Canth in the North Atlantic combined with a stable ocean transport supply means we infer a growing contribution from air–sea Canth fluxes over the period. North Atlantic Canth accumulation is thus sensitive to AMOC strength, but growing atmospheric Canth uptake continues to significantly impact Canth transports.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1752-0894
Date made live: 07 Sep 2021 15:54 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...