The reinvigoration of the Southern Ocean carbon sink

Peter Landschuetzer, Nicolas Gruber, F. Alexander Haumann, Christian Roedenbeck, Dorothee C. E. Bakker, Steven van Heuven, Mario Hoppema, Nicolas Metzl, Colm Sweeney, Taro Takahashi, Bronte Tilbrook, Rik Wanninkhof

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327 Citations (Scopus)
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Several studies have suggested that the carbon sink in the Southern Ocean—the ocean’s strongest region for the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 —has weakened in recent decades. We demonstrated, on the basis of multidecadal analyses of surface ocean CO2 observations, that this weakening trend stopped around 2002, and by 2012, the Southern Ocean had regained its expected strength based on the growth of atmospheric CO2. All three Southern Ocean sectors have contributed to this reinvigoration of the carbon sink, yet differences in the processes between sectors exist, related to a tendency toward a zonally more asymmetric atmospheric circulation. The large decadal variations in the Southern Ocean carbon sink suggest a rather dynamic ocean carbon cycle that varies more in time than previously recognized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1224
Number of pages4
Issue number6253
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2015


  • Southern Ocean
  • carbon sink

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