Marine carbon cycle response to a warmer Southern Ocean: the case of the last interglacial.

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From: Climate of the Past(Vol. 18, Issue 3)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 285 words

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Abstract :

Recent studies investigating future warming scenarios have shown that the ocean carbon sink will weaken over the coming century due to ocean warming and changes in oceanic circulation. However, significant uncertainties remain regarding the magnitude of the oceanic carbon cycle response to warming. Here, we investigate the Southern Ocean's (SO, south of 40.sup." S) carbon cycle response to warmer conditions, as simulated under last interglacial boundary conditions (LIG, 129-115 ka). We find a â¼150 % increase in carbon dioxide (CO.sub.2) outgassing over the SO at the LIG compared to pre-industrial conditions (PI), due to a 0.5 .sup." C increase in SO sea surface temperatures. This is partly compensated for by an equatorward shift of the Southern Hemisphere (SH) westerlies and weaker Antarctic Bottom Water formation, which both lead to an increase in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the deep ocean at the LIG compared to PI. These deep-ocean DIC changes arise from increased deep- and bottom-water residence times and higher remineralization rates due to higher temperatures. While our LIG simulation features a large reduction in SO sea ice compared to the PI, we find that changes in sea ice extent exert a minor control on the marine carbon cycle. The projected future strengthening and poleward shift of the SH westerlies coupled to warmer conditions at the surface of the SO should thus weaken the capacity of the SO to absorb anthropogenic CO.sub.2 over the coming century.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A697007159