Constraining the Past and Future Ocean Sink of Anthropogenic Carbon with Observations

Lead PI: Dr. William Massie Smethie , , Samar Khatiwala

Unit Affiliation: Geochemistry, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

February 2011 - January 2016
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The objective is to develop and apply an observationally-based approach to constraining the past and future ocean sink of anthropogenic CO2. The project will measure CO2 as a tracer and apply a Green function to calculate the concentration of anthropogenic CO2 in the oceans.

OUTCOMES: Found that ocean pH decreased by 0.023 units between 1765 and 2011, with ocean surface pH decreases of between 0.03 in the South Atlantic and 0.13 in the North Pacific with a mean of 0.1. Completed Green functions to find that significantly more ocean surface water is sourced from the Southern Ocean than the North Atlantic. Ocean uptake of CO2 is not related only to the amount of deep water formed in a region but also on the temporal structure of the Green functions.