Winter weather controls net influx of atmospheric CO2 on the north-west European shelf

Kitidis, V, Shutler, JD, Ashton, I, Warren, M, Brown, IJ, Findlay, HS, Hartman, SE, Sanders, R, Humphreys, M, Kivimäe, C, Greenwood, N, Hull, T, Pearce, D, McGrath, T, Stewart, BM, Walsham, P, McGovern, E, Bozec, Y, Gac, J-P, van Heuven, SMAC, Hoppema, M, Schuster, U, Johannessen, T, Omar, A, Lauvset, SK, Skjelvan, I, Olsen, A, Steinhoff, T, Körtzinger, A, Becker, M, Lefevre, N, Diverrès, D, Gkritzalis, T, Cattrijsse, A, Petersen, W, Voynova, YG, Chapron, B, Grouazel, A, Land, PE, Sharples, J and Nightingale, PD 2019 Winter weather controls net influx of atmospheric CO2 on the north-west European shelf. Scientific Reports, 9 (1).

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Shelf seas play an important role in the global carbon cycle, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and exporting carbon (C) to the open ocean and sediments. The magnitude of these processes is poorly constrained, because observations are typically interpolated over multiple years. Here, we used 298500 observations of CO2 fugacity (fCO2) from a single year (2015), to estimate the net influx of atmospheric CO2 as 26.2 ± 4.7 Tg C yr−1 over the open NW European shelf. CO2 influx from the atmosphere was dominated by influx during winter as a consequence of high winds, despite a smaller, thermally-driven, air-sea fCO2 gradient compared to the larger, biologically-driven summer gradient. In order to understand this climate regulation service, we constructed a carbon-budget supplemented by data from the literature, where the NW European shelf is treated as a box with carbon entering and leaving the box. This budget showed that net C-burial was a small sink of 1.3 ± 3.1 Tg C yr−1, while CO2 efflux from estuaries to the atmosphere, removed the majority of river C-inputs. In contrast, the input from the Baltic Sea likely contributes to net export via the continental shelf pump and advection (34.4 ± 6.0 Tg C yr−1).

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Earth Observation Science and Applications
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Biochemistry and Observations
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
Depositing User: Kim Hockley
Date made live: 16 Jan 2020 14:50
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 10:02

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