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Regnier, P, Friedlingstein P, Ciais P, Mackenzie FT, Gruber N, Janssens IA, Laruelle GG, Lauerwald R, Luyssaert S, Andersson AJ, Arndt S, Arnosti C, Borges AV, Dale AW, Gallego-Sala A, Godderis Y, Goossens N, Hartmann J, Heinze C, Ilyina T, Joos F, LaRowe DE, Leifeld J, Meysman FJR, Munhoven G, Raymond PA, Spahni R, Suntharalingam P, Thullner M.  2013.  Anthropogenic perturbation of the carbon fluxes from land to ocean. Nature Geoscience. 6:597-607.   10.1038/ngeo1830   AbstractWebsite

A substantial amount of the atmospheric carbon taken up on land through photosynthesis and chemical weathering is transported laterally along the aquatic continuum from upland terrestrial ecosystems to the ocean. So far, global carbon budget estimates have implicitly assumed that the transformation and lateral transport of carbon along this aquatic continuum has remained unchanged since pre-industrial times. A synthesis of published work reveals the magnitude of present-day lateral carbon fluxes from land to ocean, and the extent to which human activities have altered these fluxes. We show that anthropogenic perturbation may have increased the flux of carbon to inland waters by as much as 1.0 Pg C yr(-1) since pre-industrial times, mainly owing to enhanced carbon export from soils. Most of this additional carbon input to upstream rivers is either emitted back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (similar to 0.4 Pg C yr(-1)) or sequestered in sediments (similar to 0.5 Pg C yr(-1)) along the continuum of freshwater bodies, estuaries and coastal waters, leaving only a perturbation carbon input of similar to 0.1 Pg C yr(-1) to the open ocean. According to our analysis, terrestrial ecosystems store similar to 0.9 Pg C yr(-1) at present, which is in agreement with results from forest inventories but significantly differs from the figure of 1.5 Pg C yr(-1) previously estimated when ignoring changes in lateral carbon fluxes. We suggest that carbon fluxes along the land-ocean aquatic continuum need to be included in global carbon dioxide budgets.

Reid, PC, Fischer AC, Lewis-Brown E, Meredith MP, Sparrow M, Andersson AJ, Antia A, Bates NR, Bathmann U, Beaugrand G, Brix H, Dye S, Edwards M, Furevik T, Gangsto R, Hatun H, Hopcroft RR, Kendall M, Kasten S, Keeling R, Le Quere C, Mackenzie FT, Malin G, Mauritzen C, Olafsson J, Paull C, Rignot E, Shimada K, Vogt M, Wallace C, Wang ZM, Washington R.  2009.  Impacts of the Oceans on Climate Change. Advances in Marine Biology, Vol 56. 56( Sims DW, Ed.).:1-150., San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press Inc   10.1016/s0065-2881(09)56001-4   Abstract

The oceans play a key role in climate regulation especially in part buffering (neutralising) the effects of increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and rising global temperatures. This chapter examines how the regulatory processes performed by the oceans alter as a response to climate change and assesses the extent to which positive feedbacks from the ocean may exacerbate climate change. There is clear evidence for rapid change in the oceans. As the main heat store for the world there has been an accelerating change in sea temperatures over the last few decades, which has contributed to rising sea-level. The oceans are also the main store of carbon dioxide (CO(2)), and are estimated to have taken up similar to 40% of anthropogenic-sourced CO(2) from the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution. A proportion of the carbon uptake is exported via the four ocean 'carbon pumps' (Solubility, Biological, Continental Shelf and Carbonate Counter) to the deep ocean reservoir. Increases in sea temperature and changing planktonic systems and ocean currents may lead to a reduction in the uptake of CO(2) by the ocean; some evidence suggests a suppression of parts of the marine carbon sink is already underway. While the oceans have buffered climate change through the uptake of CO(2) produced by fossil fuel burning this has already had an impact on ocean chemistry through ocean acidification and will continue to do so. Feedbacks to climate change from acidification may result from expected impacts on marine organisms (especially corals and calcareous plankton), ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles. The polar regions of the world are showing the most rapid responses to climate change. As a result of a strong ice-ocean influence, small changes in temperature, salinity and ice cover may trigger large and sudden changes in regional climate with potential downstream feedbacks to the climate of the rest of the world. A warming Arctic Ocean may lead to further releases of the potent greenhouse gas methane from hydrates and permafrost. The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in driving, modifying and regulating global climate change via the carbon cycle and through its impact on adjacent Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula has shown some of the most rapid rises in atmospheric and oceanic temperature in the world, with an associated retreat of the majority of glaciers. Parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet are deflating rapidly, very likely due to a change in the flux of oceanic heat to the undersides of the floating ice shelves. The final section on modelling feedbacks from the ocean to climate change identifies limitations and priorities for model development and associated observations. Considering the importance of the oceans to climate change and our limited understanding of climate-related ocean processes, our ability to measure the changes that are taking place are conspicuously inadequate. The chapter highlights the need for a comprehensive, adequately funded and globally extensive ocean observing system to be implemented and sustained as a high priority. Unless feedbacks from the oceans to climate change are adequately included in climate change models, it is possible that the mitigation actions needed to stabilise CO(2) and limit temperature rise over the next century will be underestimated.