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Science. 2009 Dec 4;326(5958):1391-3. doi: 10.1126/science.1177394.

Tracking the variable North Atlantic sink for atmospheric CO2.

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1
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK. a.watson@uea.ac.uk

Abstract

The oceans are a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Historically, observations have been too sparse to allow accurate tracking of changes in rates of CO2 uptake over ocean basins, so little is known about how these vary. Here, we show observations indicating substantial variability in the CO2 uptake by the North Atlantic on time scales of a few years. Further, we use measurements from a coordinated network of instrumented commercial ships to define the annual flux into the North Atlantic, for the year 2005, to a precision of about 10%. This approach offers the prospect of accurately monitoring the changing ocean CO2 sink for those ocean basins that are well covered by shipping routes.

PMID:
19965756
DOI:
10.1126/science.1177394
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