Ooops! Someone misunderestimated again!

Tue, 2007-10-23 07:15Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

Ooops! Someone misunderestimated again!

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000, says a study.

International scientists found that inefficiency in the use of fossil fuels increased levels of CO2 by 17%. The other 18% came from a decline in the natural ability of land and oceans to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere.

Comments

Why the heck would increased wind in the Southern Ocean reduce CO2 uptake there? I imagine more overturning and therefore more mixing down of the highly carbonated top layer of ocean, leading to an enhanced ability to soak up CO2 at the surface. 1998’s El Nino hindered the Pacific’s ability to absorb CO2 (as I understand it) because warm water sat at the surface (warm water can hold less dissolved CO2). Can anyone here explain this conclusion?

at RealClimate would take this on? I’m certainly out of my depth.

thanks femack – a commenter at realclimate mentioned that the problem is that water with high carbon concentrations from the depths (where decomposition occurs on all things that die and sink) was brought to the surface by the overturning. I haven’t read the original paper (and am unlikely to do so), and still think this explanation is simplistic, but at least there’s a logic to it.

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