A perturbation simulation of CO2 uptake in an ocean general circulation model

Jorge Louis Sarmiento, J. C. Orr, U. Siegenthaler

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308 Scopus citations


Atmospheric pCO2 is prescribed for the period 1750-1990 using the combined Siple ice cores and Mauna Loa records. For the period 1980 to 1989, the average flux of CO2 into the ocean is 1.9 GtC/yr. However the bomb radiocarbon simulation of Toggweiler et al. (1989b) shows that the surface to deep ocean exchange in this model is too sluggish. Hence the CO2 uptake calculated by the model is probably below the actual value. The observed atmospheric increase in 1980 to 1989 is 3.2 GtC/yr, for a combined atmosphere-ocean total of 5.1 GtC/yr. This is comparable to the estimated fossil CO2 production of 5.4 GtC/yr, implying that other sources and sinks must be approximately in balance. The sensitivity of the uptake to the gas exchange rate is small: a 100% increase in gas exchange rate gives only a 9.2% increase in cumulative oceanic uptake. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3621-3645
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberC3
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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