Oceanic carbon dioxide uptake in a model of century-scale global warming

Jorge L. Sarmiento, Corinne Le Quéré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

266 Citations (Scopus)


In a model of ocean-atmosphere interaction that excluded biological processes, the oceanic uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) was substantially reduced in scenarios involving global warming relative to control scenarios. The primary reason for the reduced uptake was the weakening or collapse of the ocean thermohaline circulation. Such a large reduction in this ocean uptake would have a major impact on the future growth rate of atmospheric CO2. Model simulations that include a simple representation of biological processes show a potentially large offsetting effect resulting from the downward flux of biogenic carbon. However, the magnitude of the offset is difficult to quantify with present knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1346-1350
Number of pages5
Issue number5291
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 1996

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