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Oceanic Carbon Dioxide Uptake in a Model of Century-Scale Global Warming

Jorge L. Sarmiento and Corinne Le Quere
Science
New Series, Vol. 274, No. 5291 (Nov. 22, 1996), pp. 1346-1350
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2892051
Page Count: 5
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Oceanic Carbon Dioxide Uptake in a Model of Century-Scale Global Warming
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Abstract

In a model of ocean-atmosphere interaction that excluded biological processes, the oceanic uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO$_2$) was substantially reduced in scenarios involving global warming relative to control scenarios. The primary reason for the reduced uptake was the weakening or collapse of the ocean thermohaline circulation. Such a large reduction in this ocean uptake would have a major impact on the future growth rate of atmospheric CO$_2$. Model simulations that include a simple representation of biological processes show a potentially large offsetting effect resulting from the downward flux of biogenic carbon. However, the magnitude of the offset is difficult to quantify with present knowledge.

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