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Asymmetric transfer of CO2 across a broken sea surface

Asymmetric transfer of CO2 across a broken sea surface
Asymmetric transfer of CO2 across a broken sea surface
Most estimates of the climatically-important transfer of atmospheric gases into, and out of, the ocean assume that the ocean surface is unbroken by breaking waves. However the trapping of bubbles of atmospheric gases in the ocean by breaking waves introduces an asymmetry in this flux. This asymmetry occurs as a bias towards injecting gas into the ocean where it dissolves, and against the evasion/exsolution of previously-dissolved gas coming out of solution from the oceans and eventually reaching the atmosphere. Here we use at-sea measurements and modelling of the bubble clouds beneath the ocean surface to show that the numbers of large bubbles found metres below the sea surface in high winds are sufficient to drive a large and asymmetric flux of carbon dioxide. Our results imply a much larger asymmetry for carbon dioxide than previously proposed. This asymmetry contradicts an assumption inherent in most existing estimates of ocean-atmosphere gas transfer. The geochemical and climate implications include an enhanced invasion of carbon dioxide into the stormy temperate and polar seas.
2045-2322
1-9
Leighton, Timothy G.
3e5262ce-1d7d-42eb-b013-fcc5c286bbae
Coles, David G.H.
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Srokosz, Meric
1e0442ce-679f-43f2-8fe4-9a0f0174d483
Srokozs, Meric
623b7e1d-522c-42de-a1f2-931fe6c22d40
White, Paul
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Woolf, D.K.
aeb210e8-5fd5-4dd4-903e-6d4ef2df9abe
Leighton, Timothy G.
3e5262ce-1d7d-42eb-b013-fcc5c286bbae
Coles, David G.H.
6879ceae-991f-4eaf-8b57-0422725f40f5
Srokosz, Meric
1e0442ce-679f-43f2-8fe4-9a0f0174d483
Srokozs, Meric
623b7e1d-522c-42de-a1f2-931fe6c22d40
White, Paul
2dd2477b-5aa9-42e2-9d19-0806d994eaba
Woolf, D.K.
aeb210e8-5fd5-4dd4-903e-6d4ef2df9abe

Leighton, Timothy G., Coles, David G.H., Srokosz, Meric, Srokozs, Meric, White, Paul and Woolf, D.K. (2018) Asymmetric transfer of CO2 across a broken sea surface. Scientific Reports, 8, 1-9, [8301]. (doi:10.1038/s41598-018-25818-6).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Most estimates of the climatically-important transfer of atmospheric gases into, and out of, the ocean assume that the ocean surface is unbroken by breaking waves. However the trapping of bubbles of atmospheric gases in the ocean by breaking waves introduces an asymmetry in this flux. This asymmetry occurs as a bias towards injecting gas into the ocean where it dissolves, and against the evasion/exsolution of previously-dissolved gas coming out of solution from the oceans and eventually reaching the atmosphere. Here we use at-sea measurements and modelling of the bubble clouds beneath the ocean surface to show that the numbers of large bubbles found metres below the sea surface in high winds are sufficient to drive a large and asymmetric flux of carbon dioxide. Our results imply a much larger asymmetry for carbon dioxide than previously proposed. This asymmetry contradicts an assumption inherent in most existing estimates of ocean-atmosphere gas transfer. The geochemical and climate implications include an enhanced invasion of carbon dioxide into the stormy temperate and polar seas.

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Main manuscript SREP-17-40855-T (final 4 April 2018) v2 - Accepted Manuscript
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s41598-018-25818-6 - Version of Record
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
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Supplementary material [Asymmetric transfer of CO2 across a broken sea surface] by Leighton et al)
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 April 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 May 2018
Published date: December 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421259
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421259
ISSN: 2045-2322
PURE UUID: ecb98d42-127a-45d9-bb72-92012448f8dc
ORCID for Timothy G. Leighton: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1649-8750
ORCID for Paul White: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4787-8713

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 29 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 05:29

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Contributors

Author: David G.H. Coles
Author: Meric Srokosz
Author: Meric Srokozs
Author: Paul White ORCID iD
Author: D.K. Woolf

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