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Quantifying the feedback between ocean heating and CO2 solubility as an equivalent carbon emission

Quantifying the feedback between ocean heating and CO2 solubility as an equivalent carbon emission
Quantifying the feedback between ocean heating and CO2 solubility as an equivalent carbon emission
There are inherent difficulties in quantifying carbon cycle-climate feedbacks over the 21st century because the system is in a transient state. The conventional approach of deriving gain factors only strictly applies at equilibrium, and they differ with scenario and with respect to different climate variables (e.g., CO2, radiative forcing, and temperature) which have different time lags. Here we show that the positive feedback whereby ocean heating reduces the solubility of CO2 can be quantified in a scenario-independent way, directly from ocean heat content changes, by expressing it as an ‘equivalent carbon emission’. On annual to centennial timescales, the feedback has the same impact on atmospheric CO2 as an equivalent emission flux of fossil fuel carbon. From ocean heat-content data we quantify the ocean heating-CO2 solubility positive feedback, which increased in average strength from an equivalent emission of ?0.08 PgC yr?1 over 1961-2003 to ?0.19 PgC yr?1 during 1993-2003.
climate feedbacks, carbon cycling, ocean heating
0094-8276
L15609-[5pp]
Goodwin, Philip
87dbb154-5c39-473a-8121-c794487ee1fd
Lenton, Timothy M.
245a93ab-92e4-4719-a8b7-7ef66d65d048
Goodwin, Philip
87dbb154-5c39-473a-8121-c794487ee1fd
Lenton, Timothy M.
245a93ab-92e4-4719-a8b7-7ef66d65d048

Goodwin, Philip and Lenton, Timothy M. (2009) Quantifying the feedback between ocean heating and CO2 solubility as an equivalent carbon emission Geophysical Research Letters, 36, (15), L15609-[5pp]. (doi:10.1029/2009GL039247).

Record type: Article

Abstract

There are inherent difficulties in quantifying carbon cycle-climate feedbacks over the 21st century because the system is in a transient state. The conventional approach of deriving gain factors only strictly applies at equilibrium, and they differ with scenario and with respect to different climate variables (e.g., CO2, radiative forcing, and temperature) which have different time lags. Here we show that the positive feedback whereby ocean heating reduces the solubility of CO2 can be quantified in a scenario-independent way, directly from ocean heat content changes, by expressing it as an ‘equivalent carbon emission’. On annual to centennial timescales, the feedback has the same impact on atmospheric CO2 as an equivalent emission flux of fossil fuel carbon. From ocean heat-content data we quantify the ocean heating-CO2 solubility positive feedback, which increased in average strength from an equivalent emission of ?0.08 PgC yr?1 over 1961-2003 to ?0.19 PgC yr?1 during 1993-2003.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 7 August 2009
Published date: August 2009
Keywords: climate feedbacks, carbon cycling, ocean heating
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 350509
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/350509
ISSN: 0094-8276
PURE UUID: 8967766a-c5fe-4df6-8716-a9cb47001eb1

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Date deposited: 26 Mar 2013 10:12
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:33

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Contributors

Author: Philip Goodwin
Author: Timothy M. Lenton

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