Ocean carbon uptake more variable than thought
The Earth's oceans are thought to have taken up about one quarter of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that humans pumped into the atmosphere in the past 2 decades. While this drives acidification and has consequences for sea life, it also moderates the rate of climate change.
Researchers recently set out to create a global model of CO2 uptake using fine-scale observations on a global scale. Between 1998 and 2011, they found strong interannual variations, with the Pacific Ocean dominating the global flux variability.
"Shipboard surface water CO2 measurements are the backbone of data-based ocean CO2 sink estimates. Thanks to an increasing community effort, we are now able to estimate how much the ocean CO2 sink varies on inter-annual to decadal timescales," said Dr. Peter Landschützer, lead author of the Global Biogeochemical Cycles study.