Mechanistic Drivers of Reemergence of Anthropogenic Carbon in the Equatorial Pacific

Ping Zhai, Keith B. Rodgers, Stephen M. Griffies, Richard D. Slater, Daniele Iudicone, Jorge Louis Sarmiento, Laure Resplandy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Relatively rapid reemergence of anthropogenic carbon (Cant) in the Equatorial Pacific is of potential importance for its impact on the carbonate buffering capacity of surface seawater and thereby impeding the ocean's ability to further absorb Cant from the atmosphere. We explore the mechanisms sustaining Cant reemergence (upwelling) from the thermocline to surface layers by applying water mass transformation diagnostics to a global ocean/sea ice/biogeochemistry model. We find that the upwelling rate of Cant (0.4 PgC yr−1) from the thermocline to the surface layer is almost twice as large as air-sea Cant fluxes (0.203 PgC yr−1). The upwelling of Cant from the thermocline to the surface layer can be understood as a two-step process: The first being due to diapycnal diffusive transformation fluxes and the second due to surface buoyancy fluxes. We also find that this reemergence of Cant decreases dramatically during the 1982/1983 and 1997/1998 El Niño events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9433-9439
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 28 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Anthropogenic carbon
  • Equatorial Pacific
  • re-emergence
  • water mass transformation diagnostic


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