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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Diagnostics of the latest generation earth system models reveal the ocean will continue to absorb a large fraction of the anthropogenic carbon released to the atmosphere in the next century, with the Atlantic Ocean storing a large amount of this carbon relative to its size. The ability of the ocean to absorb carbon will reduce in the future as the ocean warms and acidifies. This reduction is larger in the Atlantic Ocean due to a weakening of the meridional overturning with changes in climate.
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-487
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-487

  04 Jan 2021

04 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Controls of ocean carbon cycle feedbacks from different ocean basins and meridional overturning in CMIP6

Anna Katavouta1,2 and Richard G. Williams1 Anna Katavouta and Richard G. Williams
  • 1Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool,Liverpool, UK
  • 2National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, UK

Abstract. The ocean response to carbon emissions involves a competition between the increase in atmospheric CO2 acting to enhance the ocean carbon storage, characterised by the carbon-concentration feedback, and climate change acting to decrease the ocean carbon storage, characterised by the carbon-climate feedback. The contribution from different ocean basins to the carbon cycle feedbacks and its control by the ocean carbonate chemistry, physical ventilation and biological processes is explored in diagnostics of 10 CMIP6 Earth system models. To gain mechanist insight, the dependence of these feedbacks to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is also investigated in an idealised climate model and the CMIP6 models. The Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans contribute equally to the carbon-concentration feedback, despite their different size. This large contribution from the Atlantic Ocean relative to its size is associated with an enhanced carbon storage in the ocean interior due to a strong local physical ventilation and an influx of carbon transported from the Southern Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean provides the largest contribution to the carbon-climate feedback relative to its size, which is primarily due to climate change acting to reduce the physical ventilation. The Southern Ocean provides a relatively small contribution to the carbon-climate feedback, due to a compensation between the climate effects of the combined decrease in solubility and physical ventilation, and the increase in accumulation of regenerated carbon in the ocean interior. In the Atlantic Ocean, the AMOC strength and its weakening with warming has a strong control on the carbon cycle feedbacks that leads to a moderate dependence of these feedbacks to AMOC on global scale. In the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans there is no clear correlation between AMOC and the carbon cycle feedbacks, suggesting that other processes control the ocean ventilation and carbon storage there.

Anna Katavouta and Richard G. Williams

Status: open (until 15 Feb 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Anna Katavouta and Richard G. Williams

Anna Katavouta and Richard G. Williams

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Short summary
Diagnostics of the latest generation earth system models reveal the ocean will continue to absorb a large fraction of the anthropogenic carbon released to the atmosphere in the next century, with the Atlantic Ocean storing a large amount of this carbon relative to its size. The ability of the ocean to absorb carbon will reduce in the future as the ocean warms and acidifies. This reduction is larger in the Atlantic Ocean due to a weakening of the meridional overturning with changes in climate.
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