Oceanic CO2 Uptake and Future Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations

by Tsung-Hung Peng, Oak Ridge Natl Lab, Oak Ridge, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Quality Issues at Fossil Fuel Plants


The global pattern of water column inventories of bomb-produced 14C suggests that an upwelling of bomb 14C-free water takes place in the Antarctic, northern Pacific, and equatorial regions, whereas a downwelling of bomb 14C-rich surface waters occurs in the temperature oceans and northern Atlantic. A global model of the closed ocean-atmosphere system is constructed on the basis of these dynamic flows for the purpose of estimating the oceanic uptake of excess CO2. To produce a close match between the historical pattern of atmospheric CO2 predicted by the model and that observed in the Siple ice core and the Mauna Loa record requires that a net release of 90 × 1015 g of carbon from the terrestrial ecosystem be posited for the period 1800-1990, in addition to fossil fuel CO2 input. It is estimated that the ocean takes up, on average 2.4-2.6 × 1015 of anthropogenic carbon each year. This net flux of CO2 into the ocean is equivalent to 44% of the estimated total for anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The model uses four scenarios of future CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption and tropical deforestation to predict atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Although the resulting patterns of predicted CO2 levels are similar to those in the report given by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the uptake of CO2 from fossil fuel in the model is more efficient than that in the general box-diffusion models used by IPCC; that is, all predictions from the model are lower than those given by IPCC.

Subject Headings: Seas and oceans | Explosions | Non-renewable energy | Temperature effects | Carbon fibers | Emissions | Climate change | Carbon dioxide

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