On the relations between the oceanic uptake of CO 2 and its carbon isotopes

On the relations between the oceanic uptake of CO 2 and its carbon isotopes The recent proposals to estimate the oceanic uptake of CO2 by monitoring the oceanic change in 13C/12C isotope ratio (Quay et al., 1992) or the air‐sea 13C/12C isotopic disequilibrium (Tans et al., 1993) is reviewed. Because the history of atmospheric CO2 and 13CO2 since preindustrial times is almost the same and increasing in an almost exponential fashion, the oceanic penetration depth of both tracers must be the same. This dynamic constraint permits the establishment of yet a third method to estimate the global ocean uptake of CO2 from 13C measurements. Using available observations in conjunction with canonical values for global carbon cycle parameters, the three methods yield inconsistent oceanic CO2 uptake rates for the time period 1970–1990, ranging from 0.6 to 3.1 GtC yr−1. However, uncertainties in the available carbon cycle data must be taken into account. Using a nonlinear estimation procedure, a consistent scenario with an oceanic CO2 uptake rate of 2.1±0.9 GtC yr−1 can be established. The method also permits an investigation of the sensitivities of the different approaches. An analysis of the results of two three‐dimensional simulations with the Hamburg model of the oceanic carbon cycle shows that the 13C isotope indeed tracks the oceanic penetration of anthropogenic CO2. Because of its different time history, bomb produced radiocarbon, as measured at the time of the Geochemical Ocean Sections Study (GEOSECS), correlates not as well to excess carbon. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Global Biogeochemical Cycles Wiley

On the relations between the oceanic uptake of CO 2 and its carbon isotopes

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1996 by the American Geophysical Union.
ISSN
0886-6236
eISSN
1944-9224
DOI
10.1029/95GB03191
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The recent proposals to estimate the oceanic uptake of CO2 by monitoring the oceanic change in 13C/12C isotope ratio (Quay et al., 1992) or the air‐sea 13C/12C isotopic disequilibrium (Tans et al., 1993) is reviewed. Because the history of atmospheric CO2 and 13CO2 since preindustrial times is almost the same and increasing in an almost exponential fashion, the oceanic penetration depth of both tracers must be the same. This dynamic constraint permits the establishment of yet a third method to estimate the global ocean uptake of CO2 from 13C measurements. Using available observations in conjunction with canonical values for global carbon cycle parameters, the three methods yield inconsistent oceanic CO2 uptake rates for the time period 1970–1990, ranging from 0.6 to 3.1 GtC yr−1. However, uncertainties in the available carbon cycle data must be taken into account. Using a nonlinear estimation procedure, a consistent scenario with an oceanic CO2 uptake rate of 2.1±0.9 GtC yr−1 can be established. The method also permits an investigation of the sensitivities of the different approaches. An analysis of the results of two three‐dimensional simulations with the Hamburg model of the oceanic carbon cycle shows that the 13C isotope indeed tracks the oceanic penetration of anthropogenic CO2. Because of its different time history, bomb produced radiocarbon, as measured at the time of the Geochemical Ocean Sections Study (GEOSECS), correlates not as well to excess carbon.

Journal

Global Biogeochemical CyclesWiley

Published: Mar 1, 1996

References

  • Keeping global change honest
    Broecker, Broecker
  • Evaluation of the 13 C constraint on the uptake of fossil fuel CO 2 by the ocean
    Broecker, Broecker; Peng, Peng
  • Oceanic radiocarbon: Separation of the natural and bomb components
    Broecker, Broecker; Sutherland, Sutherland; Smethie, Smethie; Peng, Peng; Ostlund, Ostlund
  • A strategy for estimating the impact of CO 2 fertilization on soil carbon storage
    Harrison, Harrison; Broecker, Broecker; Bonani, Bonani
  • Oceanic 13 C/ 12 C observations: A new window on ocean CO 2 uptake
    Tans, Tans; Berry, Berry; Keeling, Keeling
  • Generalized nonlinear inverse problems solved using the least squares criterion
    Tarantola, Tarantola; Valette, Valette

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