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Journal Article

Update on the temperature corrections of global air-sea CO2 flux estimates


Landschützer,  Peter       
Observations, Analysis and Synthesis (OAS), The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Dong, Y., Bakker, D., Bell, T., Huang, B., Landschützer, P., Liss, P., et al. (2022). Update on the temperature corrections of global air-sea CO2 flux estimates. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 36: e2022GB007360. doi:10.1029/2022GB007360.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-4293-4
The oceans are a major carbon sink. Sea surface temperature (SST) is a crucial variable in the calculation of the air-sea carbon dioxide (CO2) flux from surface observations. Any bias in the SST or any upper ocean vertical temperature gradient (e.g., the cool skin effect) potentially generates a bias in the CO2 flux estimates. A recent study suggested a substantial increase (∼50 or ∼0.9 Pg C yr−1) in the global ocean CO2 uptake due to this temperature effect. Here, we use a gold standard buoy SST data set as the reference to assess the accuracy of insitu SST used for flux calculation. A physical model is then used to estimate the cool skin effect, which varies with latitude. The bias-corrected SST (assessed by buoy SST) coupled with the physics-based cool skin correction increases the average ocean CO2 uptake by ∼35 (0.6 Pg C yr−1) from 1982 to 2020, which is substantially smaller than the previous correction. After these temperature considerations, we estimate an average net ocean CO2 uptake of 2.2 ± 0.4 Pg C yr−1 from 1994 to 2007 based on an ensemble of surface observation-based flux estimates, in line with the independent interior ocean carbon storage estimate corrected for the river induced natural outgassing flux (2.1 ± 0.4 Pg C yr−1). © 2022. The Authors.