Study reverses climate science position that the 'Southern Ocean carbon dioxide sink was weakening'

From the AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION and the department of “cold water increases CO2 solubility” comes this bit of good news, which reverses previous climate science assertions.


Southern Ocean removing carbon dioxide from atmosphere more efficiently

Scientists compile densest carbon data set in Antarctic waters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Since 2002, the Southern Ocean has been removing more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to two new studies.

These studies make use of millions of ship-based observations and a variety of data analysis techniques to conclude that that the Southern Ocean has increasingly taken up more carbon dioxide during the last 13 years. That follows a decade from the early 1990s to 2000s, where evidence suggested the Southern Ocean carbon dioxide sink was weakening. The new studies appear today in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters and the AAAS journal Science.

The global oceans are an important sink for human-released carbon dioxide, absorbing nearly a quarter of the total carbon dioxide emissions every year. Of all ocean regions, the Southern Ocean below the 35th parallel south plays a particularly vital role. “Although it comprises only 26 percent of the total ocean area, the Southern Ocean has absorbed nearly 40 percent of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide taken up by the global oceans up to the present,” says David Munro, a scientist at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado Boulder, and an author on the GRL paper.

The GRL paper focuses on one region of the Southern Ocean extending from the tip of South America to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. “The Drake Passage is the windiest, roughest part of the Southern Ocean,” says Colm Sweeney, lead investigator on the Drake Passage study, co-author on both the GRL and Science papers, and a CIRES scientist working in the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. “The critical element to this study is that we were able to sustain measurements in this harsh environment as long as we have–both in the summer and the winter, in every year over the last 13 years. This data set of ocean carbon measurements is the densest ongoing time series in the Southern Ocean.”

The team was able to take these long-term measurements by piggybacking instruments on the Antarctic Research Supply Vessel Laurence M. Gould. The National Science Foundation-supported Gould, which makes nearly 20 crossings of the Drake Passage each year, transporting people and supplies to and from Antarctic research stations. For over 13 years, it’s taken chemical measurements of the atmosphere and surface ocean along the way.

By analyzing more than one million surface ocean observations, the researchers could tease out subtle differences between the carbon dioxide trends in the surface ocean and the atmosphere that suggest a strengthening of the carbon sink. This change is most pronounced in the southern half of the Drake Passage during winter. Although the researchers aren’t sure of the exact mechanism driving these changes, “it’s likely that winter mixing with deep waters that have not had contact with the atmosphere for several hundred years plays an important role,” says Munro.

The Science paper, led by Peter Landschützer at the ETH Zurich, takes a more expansive view of the Southern Ocean. This study uses two innovative methods to analyze a dataset of surface water carbon dioxide spanning almost three decades and covering all of the waters below the 35th parallel south. These data–including Sweeney and Munro’s data from the Drake Passage–also show that the surface water carbon dioxide is increasing slower than atmospheric carbon dioxide, a sign that the Southern Ocean as a whole is more efficiently removing carbon from the atmosphere. These results contrast with previous findings that showed that the Southern Ocean carbon dioxide sink was stagnant or weakening from the early 1990s to the early 2000s.

In addition to the Drake Passage measurements, the Science paper uses datasets that represent a significant international collaboration, including carbon dioxide sampling from NOAA’s Ship of Opportunity Program. This program, led by Rik Wanninkhof of NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) who is also a co-author of the Science paper, is the world’s largest coordinated carbon dioxide sampling operation. Despite all these efforts, the Southern Ocean remains undersampled. “Given the importance of the Southern Ocean to the global oceans’ role in absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide, these studies suggest that we must continue to expand our measurements in this part of the world despite the challenging environment,” says Sweeney.


This study was funded primarily by the NSF and NOAA’s Climate Program Office.

96 thoughts on “Study reverses climate science position that the 'Southern Ocean carbon dioxide sink was weakening'

    • So the southern ocean is under sampled ??
      Well I would say that the Yamal Christmas trees were under sampled; like one Charlie Brown tree.
      But these guys have millions of samples.
      So just when did climate scientists start paying attention to the rules for sampled data systems ??

      • And as for sampling, I don’t care if you drag a thermometer all the way from Tierra del Fuego to the tip of the Antarctic peninsula, back and forth continuously; I would hardly call that a sampling of the Southern Ocean.
        Now if you circumnavigate Antarctica continuously at that peninsulametric center line, south latitude; and drag that same thermometer all the way, then you might have some useful data.

  1. Does this imply the southern ocean is becoming a scintillating acid bath that is going to blind, kill, and bleach the bones of all living things on and within it, becoming more dangerous even than wind turbines and Ivanpaugh-style generation plants? Furtive drama queens (climate alarmists) want to know.

  2. “This change is most pronounced in the southern half of the Drake Passage during winter.”
    That makes me feel nauseous, but not for the usual reason when reading climate reportage.

  3. I’m sorry: I didn’t read much of it. It’s from NOAA, therefore it is research with the goal of a politically pre-determined outcome. Ho hum.

    • IMO, this is a step toward acknowledging that the science isn’t settled. If “climate scientists” don’t know what all the carbon sinks are or their capacities, how can the science of CO2’s effect on the atmosphere be settled?

  4. Who wants to write the memo to the Australian science community and the most esteemed fellows of psychology and UWA administrators?

      • Don’t fret, the news services are saying this might be a threat to marine life. They have no proof or evidence.
        Went on a scuba tour off Kaikoura New Zealand, where all 3 ocean currents meet. It was teeming with life then, will be even better now.

      • If more CO2 were a threat to marine life, how did any species survive the hot tub temperature oceans of the Cretaceous, you know, when all the little shelled organisms built up the White Cliffs of Dover?
        The cliffs are composed mainly of soft, white chalk with a very fine-grained texture, composed primarily of coccoliths, plates of calcium carbonate formed by coccolithophores, single-celled planktonic algae whose skeletal remains sank to the bottom of the ocean during the Cretaceous and, together with the remains of bottom-living creatures, formed sediments.

      • Of course the oceans then gave up a lot of CO2 to the air, but all that dangerous gas in the atmosphere must have mixed with the surface layer, as is claimed to be happening now, allegedly to the detriment of corals.

      • So Jack, just how did the gulf stream make it all the way to Kaikoura. ??
        That must be why the Kaikoura lobsters (aka crayfish) taste so good.

      • RD,
        Thanks for ginger ale suggestion. I have little desire to navigate Drake Passage. When I go to Antarctica, I go by air. And in the summer.
        While OA or ON might be worthy of study, clearly no organisms are endangered by more plant food in the air.

  5. The web page for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) says that daily files are available now. If you click on the link, one of the data sets allows you to browse “Sources and sinks of CO2 with high precision and resolution.” I didn’t download the file because I wouldn’t know what to do with it. Is there anything of value there that might relate to this article? I think we got one report from this satellite many months ago, but nothing since.

    • I just checked their ‘about’ link. It says, “The CO2 Virtual Data Environment is a comprehensive effort at bringing together the models, data, and tools necessary to perform research on atmospheric CO2.”
      They aren’t manipulating the satellite data to make it match what is expected by the climate models, are they?

    • Well it is well known that CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere so why measure it; just use the ML number.

      • But the one picture that was released from OCO-2 (which covered about 3 months of observation) showed that CO2 is not a particularly well mixed gas,
        Whilst the IPCC claim that CO2 is a well mixed gas, one should not forget that the reason behind rejecting the Beck 2010 study of 180 years of accurate chemical analysis of CO2 was that each of the measurements were not representative of global levels of CO2 due to local variability of the conditions in which the sampling had taken place!
        Seasonality aside, one can only dismiss the actual chemical analyses undertaken, between about 1820 and 1959, if CO2 is not atmospherically well mixed. If it is a well mixed gas then these numerous analyses must be telling us something of importance of the then current levels of CO2.

    • I’m surprised that with all the time they had to review the data, they didn’t release a pretty picture. I noticed in the only photo they released there appears to be an unusual amount of CO2 to south of Aleutian Islands and east of Russia. It seems unusually close to the blob. I’m not a scientist, but in theory is the blob warm enough to release a more detectable amount of CO2 than surrounding areas? Is there another explanation for the higher CO2 concentration in that area? Might this prove that warmer oceans cause the increase in CO2 and not vice versa?

  6. ok
    So the southern ocean is not saturated..
    …the heat is not hiding in the southern ocean
    and CO2 levels are lower in the southern hemisphere
    We’re all going to die……

    • “Given the importance of the Southern Ocean to the global oceans’ role in absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide, these studies suggest that we must continue to expand our measurements in this part of the world despite the challenging environment,” says Sweeney.”
      Another cry for more funding. “Please give us more money so we can stay here in this “challenging environment” and suffer horribly, but still, we’ll somehow manage to struggle through and do this dreary, horrid work for the sake of humanity”

    • not cooling enough to make any difference Matt…
      ..they are just saying they discovered something that’s been happening all along…for the first time

      • “..they are just saying they discovered something that’s been happening all along…for the first time”
        Yes, but they thought over 13 years ago that the ocean would warm there, where the evidence suggested CO2 sink was weakening. (example science articles from the past)
        “not cooling enough to make any difference Matt…”
        The oceans around Antarctica have cooled a lot more since just over 13 years ago, then the overall trend from the beginning of the record. They have warmed from the beginning of the satellite era towards the middle and cooled from then to now.
        Which highlights this.
        “Southern Ocean has increasingly taken up more carbon dioxide during the last 13 years”

      • “also show that the surface water carbon dioxide is increasing slower than atmospheric carbon dioxide”
        …should be in balance

    • They told me something completely different in regards to ocean acidification. The oceans are getting warmer AND absorbing more co2, causing the oceans to become more acidic. See I’m an idiot and will believe anything they tell me. (For the good of the planet) Even if it contradicts previous statements. So what happens now? Are the warmer oceans releasing more co2 as a whole or are they sinking it and not becoming more acidic? I wonder if they’ve done the math on the volume to ratio and/or the increase in bio matter to make the oceans more or less acidic? They wouldn’t be making stuff up as they go along would they?

  7. global oceans are an important sink for human-released carbon dioxide
    … and not natural CO2?
    Ignore it, the data will be corrected.

    • I own 25 acres of mature and young forest (half and half) and my trees are great CO2 ‘sinks’ which is why they are all growing magnificently. The older oaks are towering thanks to added plant food in the atmosphere.

  8. Once again climate alarmists demonstrate a lack of understanding of the carbon cycle and the climate. Once again skeptics are justified in their skepticism.

  9. Climate science is still in its adolescence, noticing every little change in nature and attempting to intgrate it into a future trend based on the minimal experience it’s age has afforded it.

    • Well if you aren’t any good at experiments, then you can use statistics to create data, but you have to remember to call it probabilities, or trends, or some other shop talk label that statistical mathematicians use.
      But don’t make the fatal error of suggesting that it predicts something.

      • The insightful observation by Ernest Rutherford (which is far too often overlooked these days in post modern normal science)
        “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment”

      • I think he actually said; “If you have to use statistics, you should have done a better experiment. ”
        I actually have a photograph of that quotation printed on a large inside wall of a fancy office building in downtown Auckland, near a big sign that said “NO Photography.”
        I was invited into the place by an employee of the company, as he was leaving for lunch, and he gave me the code for me to use to exit the building, and lock up after I had all of my pictures (and get back in if I wanted to take some more.)
        Rutherford also said; “We haven’t the money, so we have to think smarter.” or something close to that. That is also enphotographed at the same time, along with dozens of other famous New Zealander quotes.
        None of mine are up on that wall.

  10. Of course OZ and NZ have large areas of the S Ocean as their exclusive economic zones and therefore both countries absorb at least 10 times the co2 that they emit . See Carter’s and others book “Taxing Air.”
    And BTW OZ and NZ combined emit about 1.2% of global co2 emissions.

    • The Shaky Isles moreso, than the Big Island to the West; we have much more perimeter per unit land area than the Aussies have.

  11. Three Legged Stool of CAGW: 1) Anthropogenic 2) Radiative Forcing 3) GCMs
    Leg the 1st
    Anthropogenic CO2 added to atmosphere between 1750 and 2011
    Dry Air…5.14E+18 kg…….996,943 ppm
    Water….1.27E+16 kg………..3,980 ppm
    CO2……..3.05E+15 kg…………..390.5 ppm (2011)
    CO2 per IPCC AR5 Chapter 6
    1750………….…278.0 ppm……2.17E+15 kg (How do they know? No MLO!)
    2011…………….390.5 ppm……3.05E+15 kg
    Difference.….112.5 Δppm
    Difference………………………..8.78E+14 Δkg
    What was the source of the increase in ppm and kg between 1750 and 2011? How does anybody know what these values were? Could be oceans outgassing as the oceans warm. Could be limestone weathering. Lots of possibilities. Permafrost melting. Forest fires. But how to lay all of this at the feet of industrialized man?
    Per IPCC AR5 – 1750 to 2011
    Anthropogenic carbon contribution, PgC: 555 (How do they know?)
    Not CO2, Carbon. To convert to carbon multiply by 3.67, 44.01/12.
    Some CO2 is absorbed in various natural sinks. (How do they know? Wag?)
    Anthropogenic carbon atmospheric residual, PgC: 240
    Percentage residual: 100*240/555=43.2%
    Institute for Green and Sustainable Science uses 1850 to 2000 and 40% residual.
    World Bank 4 C report uses 45% residual.
    Some use PgC. PgC = E15 g = E12 kg
    Some use GtC. GtC = E9 tonne = E9 * E3 kg/tonne * E3 g/kg = E15 g = PgC
    Some consensus.
    CO2 residual, kg…….2.40E14*3.67 = 8.81E+14 kg
    Residual as percentage of 1750-2011 delta…….100.3%
    How fortuitous! How coeenkadental! How convenient! How totally dry lab-bed! These numbers are all made up! 150 of the 260 years have zero reliable data. Wags, estimates, approximations, somebody’s judgment call! The uncertainty on these must be a barn door wide! However they clearly were selected and adjusted to match the foregone conclusion! Anthropogenic = 8.81E+14 kg.
    Forget LWIR, SWIR, CO2 molecular oscillations, sea levels, ice caps, warming. Dismantle this highly dubious leg apart and that’s one done and down.

    • How does anybody know what these values were?

      Some human can prove a^n + b^n c^n for all positive integers a, b, c and n, when n > 2. Most people don’t know where to start. Knowing approximate CO2 in 1750 is easier, though one tree at Yamal is not enough.
      8.78E14 kg = 8.78E17 g = 878 Pg. Wow. I’m running out of digits.

    • I hear ya, bro. Atmospheric CO2 in the year 1750 at 278.0 ppm — 4 significant figures.
      Ever since this spring 2015 when Anthony Watts posted the most recent Murry Salby talk, I have been obsessed with the anthropogenic fraction of the CO2 increase. Here is what I came up with.
      At least in recent decades, not only has the MLO tracked the increase in atmospheric CO2, they have also tracked the decrease in atmospheric O2. From surveys of fossil fuel use and cement making, you can figure out what the atmospheric CO2 and O2 are “supposed to be.” From what the CO2 and O2 actually are, you can figure out the rough 50-50 partition of the missing CO2 into net CO2 dissolved into the ocean (the one big inorganic sink) vs the net CO2 absorbed by the biosphere needed to get where “we actually are.” You see, the inorganic ocean sink takes up net CO2 without changing the O2 whereas the organic sink (plants and algae) takes up CO2 and releases O2.
      Another important element is that the O2-CO2 slope of plant uptake is distinguishable from the O2-CO2 slope of the fossil fuels because plant matter is a “heavily oxygenated” fuel whereas the fossil fuels somehow lost the oxygenation in their formation. Without this difference, this method of inference would not work.
      The other factor at work is that only a tiny fraction of the dissolved CO2 stays as aqueous CO2 while the bulk reacts with seawater to form the inorganic carbonates through chemical reactions having equilibrium exponents greater than one, making the exchange of CO2 between air and water nonlinear. This mechanism that suppresses the absorption of the increase in atmospheric CO2 into the ocean is called the “Revelle buffer.”
      In satisfying these and other constraints, I am able to run a dynamic model of the carbon cycle that matches the Keeling curve of atmospheric CO2 since about 1960, spot on. In other words, humans are near 100 percent responsible for the increase in atmospheric CO2. But this model only matches a smoothed average of the net atmospheric emission whereas Salby pointed out that net emission has large year-to-year swings that are highly correlated with global temperature.
      I changed the model to add an emission term that varies with temperature and I increased the rate at which the biosphere absorbs CO2 with increased concentration to balance this out. This is inspired by Salby’s mantra “emission varies with temperature, absorption varies with concentration. The physical reasoning is that the rate that forests pull in CO2 is proportional to atmospheric concentration whereas the rate at which logs and leaves and swamp slime rot is proportional to temperature.
      I do this and not only do I get a net emission curve that matches the year-to-year ups and downs, it turns out that only about half of the increase in atmospheric CO2 can be attributed to human emission, with the other half the result of the 20th century warming. This is not nearly as dramatic as Salby’s claim that nearly all the increase in atmospheric CO2 is the consequence of thermal emission from that warming, but it is, as they say, still “yuge.”

  12. Good news? If the evidence and data are more and more pointing to global cooling (which they are) then that is bad news for humanity!

    • Stan you have to understand the alarmists have staked out cooling caused by the shutting down of the “Atlantic conveyor” so that a dip in the direction of an ice age was caused by, you guessed it, global warming! When your theory won’t hold water at any seam you are free to claim that what ever happens was caused by that evil footprint of modern industrial society and the Koch brothers!

  13. The study notes that there is a theory that the absorption rate should be based on the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. And it is. The absorption rate should be be based on the excess CO2 in the atmosphere versus what is a natural equilibrium level in the atmosphere in non-glacial conditions. This level is about 270 ppm or 280 ppm, which CO2 has been at in non-glacial conditions for the past 24 million years, ie. the equilibrium level.
    Plants, oceans and soils have been absorbing out about 1.7% of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere each year since 1950. This rate used to fluctuate a lot before our emissions started to cause a large rise in the CO2 content and the absorption rate used to completely dwarf our emissions before 1950. In the 1940s, for example, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere actually fell despite our emissions of about 0.5 ppm CO2 in 1944 (CO2 absorption by plants oceans and soils was about 0.8 ppm in that year).
    The absorption rate appears to be rising slightly although based on the previous fluctuations, I imagine this will vary from time to time.
    Back to 1750.

    • But the Lloyd study found that the average change in temp ( per century) over the last 80 centuries was about 1 C.
      And the IPCC preferred temp data of HAD 4 shows just 0.8 C of warming over the last 165 years, plus this comes on top of a minor ice age as well. Here’s the summary———-
      Philip J. Lloyd
      Energy Institute, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town
      .O.Box 652 Cape Town 8000
      There has been widespread investigation of the drivers of changes in global
      temperatures. However, there has been remarkably little consideration of the
      magnitude of the changes to be expected over a period of a few decades or even a
      century. To address this question, the Holocene records up to 8000 years before
      present, from several ice cores were examined. The differences in temperatures
      between all records which are approximately a century apart were determined, after
      any trends in the data had been removed. The differences were close to normally
      distributed. The average standard deviation of temperature was 0.98 ± 0.27
      This suggests that while some portion of the temperature change observed in the
      20th century was probably caused by greenhouse gases, there is a strong likelihood
      that the major portion was due to natural variations.
      Global temperatures, natural variation, ice core, Holocene.

    • Your comment really illustrates the arrogance of climate science. The idea that we “know” what absorption was in 1944 is simply laughable. And the idea that we “know” CO2 concentrations for the last 24 million more so. These are estimates – the best we can do at the amount, that’s all. Absorption in 1944 is a guess, using a series of assumptions, and the record of CO2 in say ice is dependent on a whole host of things being right and accurate.
      This is all simply spurious accuracy.

      • The idea that we “know” what absorption was in 1944 is simply laughable.

        There are lot of things which are difficult to find out, and not that I’d be even interested, but don’t call other sciences than mine laughable unless I have some deep knowledge on the topic at hand. Things are not ‘simply’ laughable, otherwise you end up laughing at Einstein.

      • Hugs
        The reason WHY is obvious.
        We were not carrying out any direct measurements of absorption, and hence there is no quality controlled observational data of how much CO2 was being absorbed in 1944. Ditto, 24 million years ago.
        At most we have some proxy evidence, but proxies are notoriously unreliable, and difficult to tune such that they have extremely wide error bands such that they should be considered with a large pinch of salt.

      • Law Dome in Antarctica has very high snowfall and no summer melting, so that the annual layers can actually be counted and separated. There have been several ice cores taken which provides for a measurement of annual CO2 levels going back 2,000 years.
        In the years that these measurements overlap with the Mauna Loa CO2 measurements starting in 1958, there is very good agreement so one can be reasonably certain about the CO2 numbers going back 2,000 years.

      • Nonsense. The agreement between Law Dome and MLO is manufactured on the same basis that they have manufactured the recent continued warming of the surface record: because they have absolute faith in the outcome, and whatever manipulations are needed to reach that outcome are therefore justified. Confirmation bias is rampant.
        In the modern era, at least since MLO data became available, and probably well before, atmospheric CO2 is the integral of temperature anomaly, and the rate of change matches in every bump and burble along the path. Human inputs have had insignificant influence.

  14. Dawtgtomis
    September 10, 2015 at 2:38 pm
    “Climate science is still in its adolescence, noticing every little change in nature and attempting to intgrate it into a future trend based on the minimal experience it’s age has afforded it.”
    Indeed, that is the way the ‘science’ has developed. An astronomer came up with all the alarm from study of Venus’s atmos (J. Hansen). Much of the development has been educating non-earth scientists on what has long been known outside of their fledgling efforts: LIA, MWP and other MPs, Younger Dryas, the natural history of CO2 and temperature throughout the geological record that over a couple of decades constrained their hyperbole more and more.
    Only in the last 3-5 years have they even learned about natural variability from ENSO and other ocean oscillations, the sun (maybe), the role of clouds, natural maintenance of coral islands and deltas so that they don’t drown, CO2 following temperature in much of its range, solar effects, etc. The resilience of nature – polar bears – around Churchill, Manitoba can do with 3months less ice than their arctic island cousins, the planet is greening when they see only negative outcomes, a ship of fools get stuck in summer ice on an expedition to witness the horrors of global warming on Antarctica, etc. They have had to confront real statisticians and have had papers withdrawn because of it. They still try to ‘correct’ data after about 2 decades of warming suddenly flattened for a couple of decades.
    Its a painful birth, constraining the once free-for-all, ‘mission oriented’ CAglobal warming, but with sceptics’ pressure and nature’s help we will craft a science out of it.

    • Well, according to them all, the climate change insanity is the greatest achievement of all human history! So stopping these lunatics will require a lot of psychiatric institutionalized care.

  15. But don’t we need more CO2 to grow more forests and food crops? We should discourage the southern oceans from doing this. Don’t ask me how to do this. Maybe more CO2 emissions in the NH & SH and the real world.

  16. With all that CO2, isn’t down dwelling radiation appose to heat the oceans? I say it’s another nail in the coffin of the great and robust “CO2 drives the climate” theory.

  17. This is the first time that I’d read that the party line on AGW included the oceans taking up CO2 at a reduced rate.
    Golly. This would seem to be somewhat opposed (possibly even diametrically opposed) to the purported ocean acidification by increasing CO2 uptake from the atmosphere (pretty dubious because, as Anthony pointed out above, and it was taught to me, very early on in school chemistry, that solubility of gases in water decreases with warming………… and anyway most of the CO2 in seawater is in the form of bicarbonate, not carbonic acid, but I do stand to be corrected by anyone with a superior knowledge of chemistry).
    Is it possible that the climate science community’s united front is beginning to break up? Can we look forward to a schism, with the Reformed Church of AGW breaking away from the mother church (“true believers should be free to create their own models, not have to believe in models handed down in sermons by the priesthood”)?

    • Golly. This would seem to be somewhat opposed (possibly even diametrically opposed) to the purported ocean acidification by increasing CO2 uptake from the atmosphere (pretty dubious because, as Anthony pointed out above, and it was taught to me, very early on in school chemistry, that solubility of gases in water decreases with warming
      Absorption depends on Henry’s law and therefore as the pCO2 goes up as a result of fuel combustion faster than the change in solubility due to the SST increase the result is continued absorption. Adding an acid (CO2) causes a shift in pH, changing the rate of the addition just changes the rate of pH change.
      ………… and anyway most of the CO2 in seawater is in the form of bicarbonate, not carbonic acid,
      Indeed it is, however there is an chemical equilibrium between CO2(aq) and bicarbonate so if CO2 is removed from the ocean then bicarbonate will produce more CO2(aq) to restore the equilibrium.
      but I do stand to be corrected by anyone with a superior knowledge of chemistry).

  18. Let me get this straight:
    You mean the science isn’t settled after all?
    So how are the MSM and the politicos going to handle this one, then?

  19. BTW, it looks like the Arctic ice Extent may have hit its low yesterday and is likely to start increasing from here.
    (If you toggle backwards and forwards between 9/10 and 9/11, on the above link, you can see the sea ice starting to grow in all areas.)
    Seems a bit earlier than usual.
    Atmospheric Arctic temps are now around -7C, which is plenty cold enough to start forming ice around the ice pack edges and along the Arctic shoreline.

  20. Table 6.1 | Global anthropogenic CO2 budget, accumulated since the Industrial Revolution (onset in 1750) and averaged over the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, as well as the last 10 years until 2011. By convention, a negative ocean or land to atmosphere CO2 flux is equivalent to a gain of carbon by these reservoirs.
    The table does not include natural exchanges (e.g., rivers, weathering) between reservoirs. !!!!!!
    The uncertainty range of 90% confidence interval presented here differs from how uncertainties were reported in AR4 (68%).
    IPCC AR5 Table 6.1………… all PgC
    …………………………….minus….mean………..Uncertainty +/- (aka WAGs)
    Anthro output……………….470…….555……..640……….15.3%
    Fossil Fuel………..…………345……..375……..405………..8.0%
    Net land use………….……..100……..180……..260………..44.4% !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ocean atmos flux……………-185…….-155…….-125………..19.4%
    Residual land sink……….…-250…….-160………-70………56.3% !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Anthro Residual ……….….230………240……..250…………..4.2%
    Percent Retained……………48.9%…..43.2%….39.1%
    Maximum Range…………….10……….240……..470…………95.8%
    Min to max……………….….4%…..mean……196%
    Square root sum of squares, +/- ………..76%
    So man’s contribution could be almost anything because the natural sources/sinks are just a WAG!

    • Do the uncertainties really add?
      If the fossil fuel term is known to within 8% and the atmospheric increase in CO2 (say, over 20th century) to within 4 percent, doesn’t that constrain the net variability of the remaining sources and sinks to about that much change?
      By remaining source and sink I mean such thing as “net land use” minus “residual land sink.” The hodge podge of flows could be quite uncertain, but their combined effect needs to balance with the more certain fossil fuel term?

  21. Bryan A on September 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm
    I didn’t know Stephen Hawking made a music video.
    Bryan A on September 10, 2015 at 2:26 pm
    (I’ll probably burn for that one)
    Brian A,
    burning a Steven Hawking Video on CD
    ‘ain’no hanging matter, ain’no capital crime.
    citation Jagger/Richards, stray cat blues
    / and second: no need to burn anyway; YouTube won’t forget a Steven Hawking Music Video /

  22. “The global oceans are an important sink for human-released carbon dioxide, absorbing nearly a quarter of the total carbon dioxide emissions every year.”
    Second time this week for this. The best modern Carbon cycles allow a bit over 1 GtC net absorption by the oceans from the atmosphere. A quarter of human emissions would be 2.5 GtC. A quarter of soil emissions would be 15 GtC. Let’s hope they meant total human emissions.
    No arm waving allowed. Bring data, even if you’re God.

    • 1 GtC net carbon into the oceans?
      I thought that the oxygen balance allowed more than that.
      The Keeling observatory on Mauna Loa is not only tracking atmospheric CO2 but also O2 changes. If you assay all the fossil combustion, you come up with what the CO2 and O2 levels would be. To get to where CO2 and also O2 actually is, you need a net sink of CO2 and a net source of O2. Update by the biosphere emits O2 whereas uptake in the total inorganic carbon (TIC) dissolved in the ocean does not. Furthermore, the O2 output of photosynthesis in relation to CO2 uptake is along a different slope than the emission of CO2 and the removal of O2 by burning fossil fuel — fossil fuel is much less heavily oxygenated than plant matter.
      So is there more recent data/reasoning to contradict this mass-balance between organic and inorganic carbon update that gives a rough 50-25-25 split of emitted CO2 between atmosphere, ocean, and biosphere?

  23. “The best modern Carbon cycle in my opinion is the following from the IPCC.”
    This is a carbon cycle, not CO2. And C * 3.677 = CO2. Why not just say so?
    And just consider the +/- error bands. i.e -30 +/- 45 !, +155 +/- 30 !! Especially in table 6.1. +/- 50% for residual land sink.
    PgC – was a metric dart board consulted?
    How will the sudden appearance of 2.6 trillion trees affect this graphic?

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