Trends in North Atlantic sea-surface fCO2 from 1990 to 2006

U Schuster, AJ Watson, NR Bates, A Corbiere, M Gonzalez-Davila, N Metzl, D Pierrot, M Santana-Casiano

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Abstract

We examine observations from 1990 to 2006 from four voluntary observing ships and two time-series stations in the North Atlantic, fitting a sinusoidal annual cycle and linear year-on-year trend at all locations where there are sufficient data. Results show that in the subtropical regions, sea-surface fCO2 has closely followed the increasing trend in atmospheric fCO2. In contrast, farther north, sea-surface fCO2 has increased faster than fCO2 in the atmosphere. The resulting ?fCO2, driving air–sea flux of CO2, has therefore decreased in the North Atlantic, particularly at higher latitudes, as has the annual mean air–sea flux. Several underlying causes may have led to the observed changes in sea-surface fCO2. Low-frequency modes, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, lead to changes in the sea-surface temperature, in sea-surface circulation and in vertical mixing, affecting sea-surface fCO2 through biogeochemical processes. A comparison with measurements covering a longer time period shows that the sea-surface fCO2 rise has accelerated since 1990 in the northern North Atlantic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-629
Number of pages10
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume56
Issue number8-10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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