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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 8, issue 2
Biogeosciences, 8, 505–513, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-8-505-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 8, 505–513, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-8-505-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 25 Feb 2011

Research article | 25 Feb 2011

Changes in ocean circulation and carbon storage are decoupled from air-sea CO2 fluxes

I. Marinov1,2 and A. Gnanadesikan3,4 I. Marinov and A. Gnanadesikan
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania, 240 S. 33rd Street, Hayden Hall 153, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
  • 2Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
  • 3Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab (NOAA), 201 Forrestal Road, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
  • 4Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD, USA

Abstract. The spatial distribution of the air-sea flux of carbon dioxide is a poor indicator of the underlying ocean circulation and of ocean carbon storage. The weak dependence on circulation arises because mixing-driven changes in solubility-driven and biologically-driven air-sea fluxes largely cancel out. This cancellation occurs because mixing driven increases in the poleward residual mean circulation result in more transport of both remineralized nutrients and heat from low to high latitudes. By contrast, increasing vertical mixing decreases the storage associated with both the biological and solubility pumps, as it decreases remineralized carbon storage in the deep ocean and warms the ocean as a whole.

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