Three global maps using color to indicate different data.
Column inventory maps of the storage change of anthropogenic carbon (ΔCant) integrated over the upper 3000 meters of the ocean. The storage changes for 1994–2004 and 2004–2014 reveal similar larger scale patterns, with the most prominent decadal difference being a shift of the highest storage changes from the North to the South Atlantic. Credit: Müller et al. [2023], Figure 2 (modified)
Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.
Source: AGU Advances

The trend of the global ocean sink for anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) is a topic of current debate. Using three decades of observations of inorganic carbon in the ocean, Müller et al. [2023] find that ocean storage since 1994 grew at a constant rate of ~28 Pg carbon (C) per decade. However, greater increases in atmospheric CO2 from 2004 to 2014 indicate that ocean uptake in the recent decade was 15 ± 11% lower than expected based on the relationship between ocean uptake and atmospheric increase from 1994 to 2004. The authors attribute this to both a decrease in the ocean buffer capacity and changes in ocean circulation. The latter is also reflected in the decadal variability of accumulation patterns. Estimates of changes in ocean C storage were significantly greater than those derived from air-sea CO2 fluxes, suggesting changes in the ‘natural’ C inventory. These results emphasize the vulnerability of the ocean C sink to climate change.

Citation: Müller, J. D., Gruber, N., Carter, B., Feely, R., Ishii, M., Lange, N., et al. (2023). Decadal trends in the oceanic storage of anthropogenic carbon from 1994 to 2014. AGU Advances, 4, e2023AV000875.

—Susan Trumbore, Editor in Chief, AGU Advances

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