Southern Ocean anthropogenic carbon sink constrained by sea surface salinity

Terhaar, Jens; Frölicher, Thomas; Joos, Fortunat (2021). Southern Ocean anthropogenic carbon sink constrained by sea surface salinity. Science Advances, 7(18), pp. 1-10. American Association for the Advancement of Science 10.1126/sciadv.abd5964

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The ocean attenuates global warming by taking up about one quarter of global anthropogenic carbon emissions. Around 40% of this carbon sink is located in the Southern Ocean. However, Earth system models struggle to reproduce the Southern Ocean circulation and carbon fluxes. We identify a tight relationship across two multimodel ensembles between present-day sea surface salinity in the subtropical-polar frontal zone and the anthropogenic carbon sink in the Southern Ocean. Observations and model results constrain the cumulative Southern Ocean sink over 1850-2100 to 158 ± 6 petagrams of carbon under the low-emissions scenario Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 1-2.6 (SSP1-2.6) and to 279 ± 14 petagrams of carbon under the high-emissions scenario SSP5-8.5. The constrained anthropogenic carbon sink is 14 to 18% larger and 46 to 54% less uncertain than estimated by the unconstrained estimates. The identified constraint demonstrates the importance of the freshwater cycle for the Southern Ocean circulation and carbon cycle.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Terhaar, Jens; Frölicher, Thomas and Joos, Fortunat

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics

ISSN:

2375-2548

Publisher:

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Fortunat Joos

Date Deposited:

17 May 2021 15:20

Last Modified:

17 May 2021 15:20

Publisher DOI:

10.1126/sciadv.abd5964

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/156125

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/156125

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