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Rodgers, KB, Aumont O, Fletcher SEM, Plancherel Y, Bopp L, Montegut CD, Iudicone D, Keeling RF, Madec G, Wanninkhof R.  2014.  Strong sensitivity of Southern Ocean carbon uptake and nutrient cycling to wind stirring. Biogeosciences. 11:4077-4098.   10.5194/bg-11-4077-2014   AbstractWebsite

Here we test the hypothesis that winds have an important role in determining the rate of exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and ocean through wind stirring over the Southern Ocean. This is tested with a sensitivity study using an ad hoc parameterization of wind stirring in an ocean carbon cycle model, where the objective is to identify the way in which perturbations to the vertical density structure of the planetary boundary in the ocean impacts the carbon cycle and ocean biogeochemistry. Wind stirring leads to reduced uptake of CO2 by the Southern Ocean over the period 2000-2006, with a relative reduction with wind stirring on the order of 0.9 Pg C yr(-1) over the region south of 45 degrees S. This impacts not only the mean carbon uptake, but also the phasing of the seasonal cycle of carbon and other ocean biogeochemical tracers. Enhanced wind stirring delays the seasonal onset of stratification, and this has large impacts on both entrainment and the biological pump. It is also found that there is a strong reduction on the order of 25-30% in the concentrations of NO3 exported in Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) to wind stirring. This finds expression not only locally over the Southern Ocean, but also over larger scales through the impact on advected nutrients. In summary, the large sensitivity identified with the ad hoc wind stirring parameterization offers support for the importance of wind stirring for global ocean biogeochemistry through its impact over the Southern Ocean.

Betts, RA, Jones CD, Knight JR, Keeling RF, Kennedy JJ, Wiltshire AJ, Andrew RM, Aragao L.  2018.  A successful prediction of the record CO2 rise associated with the 2015/2016 El Nino. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 373   10.1098/rstb.2017.0301   AbstractWebsite

In early 2016, we predicted that the annual rise in carbon dioxide concentration at Mauna Loa would be the largest on record. Our forecast used a statistical relationship between observed and forecast sea surface temperatures in the Nino 3.4 region and the annual CO2 rise. Here, we provide a formal verification of that forecast. The observed rise of 3.4 ppm relative to 2015 was within the forecast range of 3.15 +/- 0.53 ppm, so the prediction was successful. A global terrestrial biosphere model supports the expectation that the El Nino weakened the tropical land carbon sink. We estimate that the El Nino contributed approximately 25% to the record rise in CO2, with 75% due to anthropogenic emissions. The 2015/2016 CO2 rise was greater than that following the previous large El Nino in 1997/1998, because anthropogenic emissions had increased. We had also correctly predicted that 2016 would be the first year with monthly mean CO2 above 400 ppm all year round. We now estimate that atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa would have remained above 400 ppm all year round in 2016 even if the El Nino had not occurred, contrary to our previous expectations based on a simple extrapolation of previous trends. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'The impact of the 2015/2016 El Nino on the terrestrial tropical carbon cycle: patterns, mechanisms and implications'.

Volk, T, Keeling R.  1993.  Summary of workshop on interannual variations in the carbon cycle. The Global carbon cycle. ( Heimann M, Ed.).:579-581., Berlin; New York: Springer-Verlag Abstract
Stephens, BB, Keeling RF, Heimann M, Six KD, Murnane R, Caldeira K.  1998.  Testing global ocean carbon cycle models using measurements of atmospheric O2 and CO2 concentration. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 12:213-230.   10.1029/97gb03500   AbstractWebsite

We present a method for testing the performance of global ocean carbon cycle models using measurements of atmospheric O-2 and CO2 concentration. We combine these measurements to define a tracer, atmospheric potential oxygen (APO approximate to O-2 + CO2), which is conservative with respect to terrestrial photosynthesis and respiration. We then compare observations of APO to the simulations of an atmospheric transport model which uses ocean-model air-sea fluxes and fossil fuel combustion estimates as lower boundary conditions. We present observations of the annual-average concentrations of CO2, O-2, and APO at 10 stations in a north-south transect. The observations of APO show a significant interhemispheric gradient decreasing towards the north. We use air-sea CO2, O-2, and N-2 fluxes from the Princeton ocean biogeochemistry model, the Hamburg model of the ocean carbon cycle, and the Lawrence Livermore ocean biogeochemistry model to drive the TM2 atmospheric transport model. The latitudinal variations in annual-average APO predicted by the combined models are distinctly different from the observations. All three models significantly underestimate the interhemispheric difference in APO, suggesting that they underestimate the net southward transport of the sum of O-2 and CO2 in the oceans. Uncertainties in the model-observation comparisons include uncertainties associated with the atmospheric measurements, the atmospheric transport model, and the physical and biological components of the ocean models. Potential deficiencies in the physical components of the ocean models, which have previously been suggested as causes for anomalously large heat fluxes out of the Southern Ocean, may contribute to the discrepancies with the APO observations. These deficiencies include the inadequate parameterization of subgrid-scale isopycnal eddy mixing, a lack of subgrid-scale vertical convection, too much Antarctic sea-ice formation, and an overestimation of vertical diffusivities in the main thermocline.

Newman, S, Xu XM, Gurney KR, Hsu YK, Li KF, Jiang X, Keeling R, Feng S, O'Keefe D, Patarasuk R, Wong KW, Rao P, Fischer ML, Yung YL.  2016.  Toward consistency between trends in bottom-up CO2 emissions and top-down atmospheric measurements in the Los Angeles megacity. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 16:3843-3863. AbstractWebsite

Large urban emissions of greenhouse gases result in large atmospheric enhancements relative to background that are easily measured. Using CO2 mole fractions and delta C-14 and delta C-13 values of CO2 in the Los Angeles megacity observed in inland Pasadena (2006-2013) and coastal Palos Verdes peninsula (autumn 2009-2013), we have determined time series for CO2 contributions from fossil fuel combustion (C-ff) for both sites and broken those down into contributions from petroleum and/or gasoline and natural gas burning for Pasadena. We find a 10 % reduction in Pasadena C-ff during the Great Recession of 2008-2010, which is consistent with the bottom-up inventory determined by the California Air Resources Board. The isotopic variations and total atmospheric CO2 from our observations are used to infer seasonality of natural gas and petroleum combustion. The trend of CO2 contributions to the atmosphere from natural gas combustion is out of phase with the seasonal cycle of total natural gas combustion seasonal patterns in bottom-up inventories but is consistent with the seasonality of natural gas usage by the area's electricity generating power plants. For petroleum, the inferred seasonality of CO2 contributions from burning petroleum is delayed by several months relative to usage indicated by statewide gasoline taxes. Using the high-resolution Hestia-LA data product to compare C-ff from parts of the basin sampled by winds at different times of year, we find that variations in observed fossil fuel CO2 reflect seasonal variations in wind direction. The seasonality of the local CO2 excess from fossil fuel combustion along the coast, on Palos Verdes peninsula, is higher in autumn and winter than spring and summer, almost completely out of phase with that from Pasadena, also because of the annual variations of winds in the region. Variations in fossil fuel CO2 signals are consistent with sampling the bottom-up Hestia-LA fossil CO2 emissions product for sub-city source regions in the LA megacity domain when wind directions are considered.

Keeling, RF, Peng TH.  1995.  Transport of heat, CO2 and O2 by the Atlantic's thermohaline circulation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences. 348:133-142.   10.1098/rstb.1995.0055   AbstractWebsite

We estimate transport of heat, CO2 and O-2 by the Atlantic's thermohaline circulation using an approach based on differences in the chemical and physical characteristics of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW), Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), and the northward return flow across the equator. The characteristics of the return-flow waters are constrained by imposing conservation of phosphate in the North Atlantic as a whole. Based on a total equatorial return flow of 13 x 10(6) m(3) s(-1), we find that the Atlantic north of the equator is a source of 7.7 +/- 1.4 x 10(14) W to the atmosphere, a sink of 0.51 +/- 0.21 x 10(14) mol of O-2, and preindustrially was a sink of 0.33 +/- 0.15 x 10(14) mol of CO2. Uptake of O-2 and CO2 by the North Atlantic is driven mainly by thermal, as opposed to biological processes.

Keeling, RF.  2009.  Triage in the greenhouse. Nature Geoscience. 2:820-822.   10.1038/ngeo701   AbstractWebsite

The path towards mitigating global warming is going to be tortuous. capturing carbon dioxide and pumping it directly into the deep ocean to avoid atmospheric build-up is an option that has been dismissed prematurely.

Le Quere, C, Aumont O, Bopp L, Bousquet P, Ciais P, Francey R, Heimann M, Keeling CD, Keeling RF, Kheshgi H, Peylin P, Piper SC, Prentice IC, Rayner PJ.  2003.  Two decades of ocean CO2 sink and variability. Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology. 55:649-656.   10.1034/j.1600-0889.2003.00043.x   AbstractWebsite

Atmospheric CO2 has increased at a nearly identical average rate of 3.3 and 3.2 Pg C yr(-1) for the decades of the 1980s and the 1990s, in spite of a large increase in fossil fuel emissions from 5.4 to 6.3 Pg C yr(-1). Thus, the sum of the ocean and land CO2 sinks was 1 Pg C yr(-1) larger in the 1990s than in to the 1980s. Here we quantify the ocean and land sinks for these two decades using recent atmospheric inversions and ocean models. The ocean and land sinks are estimated to be, respectively, 0.3 (0.1 to 0.6) and 0.7 (0.4 to 0.9) Pg C yr(-1) larger in the 1990s than in the 1980s. When variability less than 5 yr is removed, all estimates show a global oceanic sink more or less steadily increasing with time, and a large anomaly in the land sink during 1990-1994. For year-to-year variability, all estimates show 1/3 to 1/2 less variability in the ocean than on land, but the amplitude and phase of the oceanic variability remain poorly determined. A mean oceanic sink of 1.9 Pg C yr(-1) for the 1990s based on O-2 observations corrected for ocean outgassing is supported by these estimates, but an uncertainty on the mean value of the order of +/-0.7 Pg C yr(-1) remains. The difference between the two decades appears to be more robust than the absolute value of either of the two decades.

Graven, HD, Stephens BB, Guilderson TP, Campos TL, Schimel DS, Campbell JE, Keeling RF.  2009.  Vertical profiles of biospheric and fossil fuel-derived CO2 and fossil fuel CO2: CO ratios from airborne measurements of Δ14C, CO2 and CO above Colorado, USA. Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology. 61:536-546.   10.1111/j.1600-0889.2009.00421.x   AbstractWebsite

Measurements of Delta C-14 in atmospheric CO2 are an effective method of separating CO2 additions from fossil fuel and biospheric sources or sinks of CO2. We illustrate this technique with vertical profiles of CO2 and Delta C-14 analysed in whole air flask samples collected above Colorado, USA in May and July 2004. Comparison of lower tropospheric composition to cleaner air at higher altitudes (>5 km) revealed considerable additions from respiration in the morning in both urban and rural locations. Afternoon concentrations were mainly governed by fossil fuel emissions and boundary layer depth, also showing net biospheric CO2 uptake in some cases. We estimate local industrial CO2: CO emission ratios using in situ measurements of CO concentration. Ratios are found to vary by 100% and average 57 mole CO2:1 mole CO, higher than expected from emissions inventories. Uncertainty in CO2 from different sources was +/- 1.1 to +/- 4.1 ppm for addition or uptake of -4.6 to 55.8 ppm, limited by Delta 14C measurement precision and uncertainty in background Delta C-14 and CO2 levels.

Wagner, TJW, Dell RW, Eisenman I, Keeling RF, Padman L, Severinghaus JP.  2018.  Wave inhibition by sea ice enables trans-Atlantic ice rafting of debris during Heinrich events. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 495:157-163.   10.1016/j.epsl.2018.05.006   AbstractWebsite

The last glacial period was punctuated by episodes of massive iceberg calving from the Laurentide Ice Sheet, called Heinrich events, which are identified by layers of ice-rafted debris (IRD) in ocean sediment cores from the North Atlantic. The thickness of these IRD layers declines more gradually with distance from the iceberg sources than would be expected based on present-day iceberg drift and decay. Here we model icebergs as passive Lagrangian particles driven by ocean currents, winds, and sea surface temperatures. The icebergs are released in a comprehensive climate model simulation of the last glacial maximum (LGM), as well as a simulation of the modern climate. The two simulated climates result in qualitatively similar distributions of iceberg meltwater and hence debris, with the colder temperatures of the LGM having only a relatively small effect on meltwater spread. In both scenarios, meltwater flux falls off rapidly with zonal distance from the source, in contrast with the more uniform spread of IRD in sediment cores. To address this discrepancy, we propose a physical mechanism that could have prolonged the lifetime of icebergs during Heinrich events. The mechanism involves a surface layer of cold and fresh meltwater formed from, and retained around, large densely packed armadas of icebergs. This leads to wintertime sea ice formation even in relatively low latitudes. The sea ice in turn shields the icebergs from wave erosion, which is the main source of iceberg ablation. We find that sea ice could plausibly have formed around the icebergs during four months each winter. Allowing for four months of sea ice in the model results in a simulated IRD distribution which approximately agrees with the distribution of IRD in sediment cores. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keeling, RF, Najjar RP, Bender ML, Tans PP.  1993.  What atmospheric oxygen measurements can tell us about the global carbon cycle. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 7:37-67.   10.1029/92gb02733   AbstractWebsite

This paper explores the role that measurements of changes in atmospheric oxygen, detected through changes in the O2/N2 ratio of air, can play in improving our understanding of the global carbon cycle. Simple conceptual models are presented in order to clarify the biological and physical controls on the exchanges of O2, CO2, N2, and Ar across the air-sea interface and in order to clarify the relationships between biologically mediated fluxes of oxygen across the air-sea interface and the cycles of organic carbon in the ocean. Predictions of large-scale seasonal variations and gradients in atmospheric oxygen are presented. A two-dimensional model is used to relate changes in the O2/N2 ratio of air to the sources of oxygen from terrestrial and marine ecosystems, the thermal ingassing and outgassing of seawater, and the burning of fossil fuel. The analysis indicates that measurements of seasonal variations in atmospheric oxygen can place new constraints on the large-scale marine biological productivity. Measurements of the north-south gradient and depletion rate of atmospheric oxygen can help determine the rates and geographical distribution of the net storage of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems.