Tracking the variable North Atlantic sink for atmospheric CO2

Andrew J. Watson, Ute Schuster, Dorothee C. E. Bakker, Nicholas R. Bates, Antoine Corbière, Melchor González-Dávila, Tobias Friedrich, Judith Hauck, Christoph Heinze, Truls Johannessen, Arne Körtzinger, Nicolas Metzl, Jon Olafsson, Are Olsen, Andreas Oschlies, X. Antonio Padin, Benjamin Pfeil, J. Magdalena Santana-Casiano, Tobias Steinhoff, Maciej TelszewskiAida F. Rios, Douglas W. R. Wallace, Rik Wanninkhof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


The oceans are a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 Historically, observations have been too sparse to allow accurate tracking of changes in rates of CO2 uptake over ocean basins, so little is known about how these vary. Here, we show observations indicating substantial variability in the CO2 uptake by the North Atlantic on time scales of a few years. Further, we use measurements from a coordinated network of instrumented commercial ships to define the annual flux into the North Atlantic, for the year 2005, to a precision of about 10%. This approach offers the prospect of accurately monitoring the changing ocean CO2 sink for those ocean basins that are well covered by shipping routes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1391-1393
Number of pages3
Issue number5958
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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