Articles | Volume 5, issue 6
Biogeosciences, 5, 1669–1679, 2008
Biogeosciences, 5, 1669–1679, 2008

  11 Dec 2008

11 Dec 2008

Temporal variability of the anthropogenic CO2 storage in the Irminger Sea

F. F. Pérez1, M. Vázquez-Rodríguez1, E. Louarn2,3, X. A. Padín1, H. Mercier4, and A. F. Ríos1 F. F. Pérez et al.
  • 1Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas, CSIC, Eduardo Cabello 6, 36208 Vigo, Spain
  • 2Laboratoire de Chimie Marine, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Plouzané, France
  • 3Station Biologique de Roscoff, CNRS UPMC, B.P. 74, 29682 Roscoff, France
  • 4Laboratoire de Physique des Océans, CNRS Ifremer IRD UBO, IFREMER Centre de Brest, B.P. 70, 29280 Plouzané, France

Abstract. The anthropogenic CO2 (Cant) estimates from cruises spanning more than two decades (1981–2006) in the Irminger Sea area of the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre reveal a large variability in the Cant storage rates. During the early 1990's, the Cant storage rates (2.3±0.6 mol C m−2 yr−1) doubled the average rate for 1981–2006 (1.1±0.1 mol C m−2 yr−1), whilst a remarkable drop to almost half that average followed from 1997 onwards. The Cant storage evolution runs parallel to chlorofluorocarbon-12 inventories and is in good agreement with Cant uptake rates of increase calculated from sea surface pCO2 measurements. The contribution of the Labrador Seawater to the total inventory of Cant in the Irminger basin dropped from 66% in the early 1990s to 49% in the early 2000s. The North Atlantic Oscillation shift from a positive to a negative phase in 1996 led to a reduction of air-sea heat loss in the Labrador Sea. The consequent convection weakening accompanied by an increase in stratification has lowered the efficiency of the northern North Atlantic CO2 sink.

Final-revised paper