Ryan J. Woosley, Frank J. Millero, Rik Wanninkhof

Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Published date January 6, 2016

Rapid anthropogenic changes in CO2 and pH in the Atlantic Ocean: 2003–2014

  • Uses the extended multilinear regression method to determine the uptake and storage of anthropogenic carbon in the Atlantic Ocean based on repeat occupations of four cruises from 1989 to 2014, with an emphasis on the 2003–2014 period 
  • Results show a significant increase in basin‐wide anthropogenic carbon storage in the North Atlantic, which, from 2003 to 2014, absorbed carbon at around 2x the rate observed during the 1989–2003 period
  • Attributes this decadal variability to changing ventilation patterns associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation and increasing release of anthropogenic carbon into the atmosphere
  • Finds that there was a smaller increase in the uptake rate of CO2 in the South Atlantic when comparing the same time periods
  • Identifies several eddies containing ~20% more anthropogenic carbon than the surrounding waters in the South Atlantic demonstrating the importance of eddies in transporting anthropogenic carbon
  • Finds that the uptake of carbon results in a decrease in pH of ~0.0021 ± 0.0007 per year for surface waters during the last 10 years, in line with the atmospheric increase in CO2