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Rafelski, LE, Paplawsky B, Keeling RF.  2015.  Continuous measurements of dissolved O-2 and oxygen isotopes in the Southern California coastal ocean. Marine Chemistry. 174:94-102.   10.1016/j.marchem.2015.05.011   AbstractWebsite

Dissolved O-2/N-2, O-2/Ar, O-2 saturation and delta O-18 were measured continuously near the surface ocean at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pier in La Jolla, California, for five weeks. The data showed diurnal cycles, in O-2 and delta O-18, with amplitudes of 19 mmol m(-3) and 1.1%., respectively. The diurnal cycles are well described by a box model that includes photosynthesis, respiration, air-sea gas exchange, and mixing. The timing of the cycles can be explained using a photosynthesis rate proportional to photosynthetically active radiation, and the shapes of the cycles can be explained by mixing with a subsurface layer of water that is supersaturated in O-2. Based on the diurnal cycles in O-2 and delta O-18, the average maximum daily photosynthesis rate was 3.7-4.7 mmol O-2 m(-3) h(-1), which is supported by the light-saturated photosynthesis rate estimated from the measured chlorophyll concentration. In the future, these continuous measurement techniques could be used at different locations and depths to improve the understanding of variability in oceanic primary production. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Rafelski, LE, Piper SC, Keeling RF.  2009.  Climate effects on atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last century. Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology. 61:718-731.   10.1111/j.1600-0889.2009.00439.x   AbstractWebsite

The buildup of atmospheric CO(2) since 1958 is surprisingly well explained by the simple premise that 57% of the industrial emissions (fossil fuel burning and cement manufacture) has remained airborne. This premise accounts well for the rise both before and after 1980 despite a decrease in the growth rate of fossil fuel CO(2) emissions, which occurred at that time, and by itself should have caused the airborne fraction to decrease. In contrast, the buildup prior to 1958 was not simply proportional to cumulative fossil fuel emissions, and notably included a period during the 1940s when CO(2) growth stalled despite continued fossil fuel emissions. Here we show that the constancy of the airborne fraction since 1958 can be in part explained by decadal variations in global land air temperature, which caused a warming-induced release of CO(2) from the land biosphere to the atmosphere. We also show that the 1940s plateau may be related to these decadal temperature variations. Furthermore, we show that there is a close connection between the phenomenology producing CO(2) variability on multidecadal and El Nino timescales.

Rafelski, LE, Paplawsky B, Keeling RF.  2013.  An Equilibrator System to Measure Dissolved Oxygen and Its Isotopes. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 30:361-377.   10.1175/jtech-d-12-00074.1   AbstractWebsite

An equilibrator is presented that is designed to have a sufficient equilibration time even for insoluble gases, and to minimize artifacts associated with not equilibrating to the total gas tension. A gas tension device was used to balance the pressure inside the equilibrator with the total gas tension. The equilibrator has an e-folding time of 7.36 +/- 0.74 min for oxygen and oxygen isotopes, allowing changes on hourly time scales to be easily resolved. The equilibrator delivers "equilibrated" air at a flow rate of 3 mL min(-1) to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. The high gas sampling flow rate would allow the equilibrator to be interfaced with many potential devices, but further development may be required for use at sea. This system was tested at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pier, in La Jolla, California. A mathematical model validated with performance tests was used to assess the sensitivity of the equilibrated air composition to headspace pressure and makeup gas composition. Parameters in this model can be quantified to establish corrections under different operating conditions. For typical observed values, under the operating conditions presented here, the uncertainty in the measurement due to the equilibrator system is 2.2 per mil for delta(O-2/N-2), 1.5 per mil for delta(O-2/Ar), 0.059 per mil for delta O-18, and 0.0030 per mil for Delta O-17.

Rahmstorf, S, Cazenave A, Church JA, Hansen JE, Keeling RF, Parker DE, Somerville RCJ.  2007.  Recent climate observations compared to projections. Science. 316:709-709.   10.1126/science.1136843   AbstractWebsite

We present recent observed climate trends for carbon dioxide concentration, global mean air temperature, and global sea level, and we compare these trends to previous model projections as summarized in the 2001 assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC scenarios and projections start in the year 1990, which is also the base year of the Kyoto protocol, in which almost all industrialized nations accepted a binding commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The data available for the period since 1990 raise concerns that the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly to climate change than our current generation of models indicates.

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. 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.

Resplandy, L, Keeling RF, Eddebbar Y, Brooks MK, Wang R, Bopp L, Long MC, Dunne JP, Koeve W, Oschlies A.  2018.  Quantification of ocean heat uptake from changes in atmospheric O2 and CO2 composition. Nature. 563:105-108.   10.1038/s41586-018-0651-8   Abstract

The ocean is the main source of thermal inertia in the climate system1. During recent decades, ocean heat uptake has been quantified by using hydrographic temperature measurements and data from the Argo float program, which expanded its coverage after 20072,3. However, these estimates all use the same imperfect ocean dataset and share additional uncertainties resulting from sparse coverage, especially before 20074,5. Here we provide an independent estimate by using measurements of atmospheric oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2)—levels of which increase as the ocean warms and releases gases—as a whole-ocean thermometer. We show that the ocean gained 1.33 ± 0.20  × 1022 joules of heat per year between 1991 and 2016, equivalent to a planetary energy imbalance of 0.83 ± 0.11 watts per square metre of Earth’s surface. We also find that the ocean-warming effect that led to the outgassing of O2 and CO2 can be isolated from the direct effects of anthropogenic emissions and CO2 sinks. Our result—which relies on high-precision O2 measurements dating back to 19916—suggests that ocean warming is at the high end of previous estimates, with implications for policy-relevant measurements of the Earth response to climate change, such as climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases7 and the thermal component of sea-level rise8.

Resplandy, L, Keeling RF, Stephens BB, Bent JD, Jacobson A, Rodenbeck C, Khatiwala S.  2016.  Constraints on oceanic meridional heat transport from combined measurements of oxygen and carbon. Climate Dynamics. 47:3335-3357.   10.1007/s00382-016-3029-3   AbstractWebsite

Despite its importance to the climate system, the ocean meridional heat transport is still poorly quantified. We identify a strong link between the northern hemisphere deficit in atmospheric potential oxygen (APO = O + 1.1 CO) and the asymmetry in meridional heat transport between northern and southern hemispheres. The recent aircraft observations from the HIPPO campaign reveal a northern APO deficit in the tropospheric column of 10.4 1.0 per meg, double the value at the surface and more representative of large-scale air-sea fluxes. The global northward ocean heat transport asymmetry necessary to explain the observed APO deficit is about 0.7-1.1 PW, which corresponds to the upper range of estimates from hydrographic sections and atmospheric reanalyses.

Resplandy, L, Keeling RF, Rodenbeck C, Stephens BB, Khatiwala S, Rodgers KB, Long MC, Bopp L, Tans PP.  2018.  Revision of global carbon fluxes based on a reassessment of oceanic and riverine carbon transport. Nature Geoscience. 11:504-+.   10.1038/s41561-018-0151-3   AbstractWebsite

Measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentration provide a tight constraint on the sum of the land and ocean sinks. This constraint has been combined with estimates of ocean carbon flux and riverine transport of carbon from land to oceans to isolate the land sink. Uncertainties in the ocean and river fluxes therefore translate into uncertainties in the land sink. Here, we introduce a heat-based constraint on the latitudinal distribution of ocean and river carbon fluxes, and reassess the partition between ocean, river and land in the tropics, and in the southern and northern extra-tropics. We show that the ocean overturning circulation and biological pump tightly link the ocean transports of heat and carbon between hemispheres. Using this coupling between heat and carbon, we derive ocean and river carbon fluxes compatible with observational constraints on heat transport. This heat-based constraint requires a 20-100% stronger ocean and river carbon transport from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere than existing estimates, and supports an upward revision of the global riverine carbon flux from 0.45 to 0.78 PgC yr(-1). These systematic biases in existing ocean/river carbon fluxes redistribute up to 40% of the carbon sink between northern, tropical and southern land ecosystems. As a consequence, the magnitude of both the southern land source and the northern land sink may have to be substantially reduced.

Rodenbeck, C, Keeling RF, Bakker DCE, Metz N, Olsen A, Sabine C, Heimann M.  2013.  Global surface-ocean p(CO2) and sea-air CO2 flux variability from an observation-driven ocean mixed-layer scheme. Ocean Science. 9:193-216.   10.5194/os-9-193-2013   AbstractWebsite

A temporally and spatially resolved estimate of the global surface-ocean CO2 partial pressure field and the sea air CO2 flux is presented, obtained by fitting a simple data-driven diagnostic model of ocean mixed-layer biogeochemistry to surface-ocean CO2 partial pressure data from the SOCAT v1.5 database. Results include seasonal, interannual, and short-term (daily) variations. In most regions, estimated seasonality is well constrained from the data, and compares well to the widely used monthly climatology by Takahashi et al. (2009). Comparison to independent data tentatively supports the slightly higher seasonal variations in our estimates in some areas. We also fitted the diagnostic model to atmospheric CO2 data. The results of this are less robust, but in those areas where atmospheric signals are not strongly influenced by land flux variability, their seasonality is nevertheless consistent with the results based on surface-ocean data. From a comparison with an independent seasonal climatology of surface-ocean nutrient concentration, the diagnostic model is shown to capture relevant surface-ocean biogeochemical processes reasonably well. Estimated interannual variations will be presented and discussed in a companion paper.

Rodenbeck, C, Zaehle S, Keeling R, Heimann M.  2018.  History of El Nino impacts on the global carbon cycle 1957-2017: a quantification from atmospheric CO2 data. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 373   10.1098/rstb.2017.0303   AbstractWebsite

Interannual variations in the large-scale net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere were estimated for 1957-2017 from sustained measurements of atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios. As the observations are sparse in the early decades, available records were combined into a 'quasi-homogeneous' dataset based on similarity in their signals, to minimize spurious variations from beginning or ending data records. During El Nino events, CO2 is anomalously released from the tropical band, and a few months later also in the northern extratropical band. This behaviour can approximately be represented by a linear relationship of the NEE anomalies and local air temperature anomalies, with sensitivity coefficients depending on geographical location and season. The apparent climate sensitivity of global total NEE against variations in pan-tropically averaged annual air temperature slowly changed over time during the 1957-2017 period, first increasing (though less strongly than in previous studies) but then decreasing again. However, only part of this change can be attributed to actual changes in local physiological or ecosystem processes, the rest probably arising from shifts in the geographical area of dominating temperature variations. 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'.

Rodenbeck, C, Zaehle S, Keeling R, Heimann M.  2018.  How does the terrestrial carbon exchange respond to inter-annual climatic variations? A quantification based on atmospheric CO2 data Biogeosciences. 15:2481-2498.   10.5194/bg-15-2481-2018   AbstractWebsite

The response of the terrestrial net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 to climate variations and trends may crucially determine the future climate trajectory. Here we directly quantify this response on inter-annual timescales by building a linear regression of inter-annual NEE anomalies against observed air temperature anomalies into an atmospheric inverse calculation based on long-term atmospheric CO2 observations. This allows us to estimate the sensitivity of NEE to inter-annual variations in temperature (seen as a climate proxy) resolved in space and with season. As this sensitivity comprises both direct temperature effects and the effects of other climate variables co-varying with temperature, we interpret it as "inter-annual climate sensitivity". We find distinct seasonal patterns of this sensitivity in the northern extratropics that are consistent with the expected seasonal responses of photosynthesis, respiration, and fire. Within uncertainties, these sensitivity patterns are consistent with independent inferences from eddy covariance data. On large spatial scales, northern extratropical and tropical interannual NEE variations inferred from the NEE-T regression are very similar to the estimates of an atmospheric inversion with explicit inter-annual degrees of freedom. The results of this study offer a way to benchmark ecosystem process models in more detail than existing effective global climate sensitivities. The results can also be used to gap-fill or extrapolate observational records or to separate inter-annual variations from longer-term trends.

Rodenbeck, C, Bakker DCE, Metzl N, Olsen A, Sabine C, Cassar N, Reum F, Keeling RF, Heimann M.  2014.  Interannual sea-air CO2 flux variability from an observation-driven ocean mixed-layer scheme. Biogeosciences. 11:4599-4613.   10.5194/bg-11-4599-2014   AbstractWebsite

Interannual anomalies in the sea-air carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange have been estimated from surface-ocean CO2 partial pressure measurements. Available data are sufficient to constrain these anomalies in large parts of the tropical and North Pacific and in the North Atlantic, in some areas covering the period from the mid 1980s to 2011. Global interannual variability is estimated as about 0.31 Pg Cyr(-1) (temporal standard deviation 1993-2008). The tropical Pacific accounts for a large fraction of this global variability, closely tied to El Ni o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Anomalies occur more than 6 months later in the east than in the west. The estimated amplitude and ENSO response are roughly consistent with independent information from atmospheric oxygen data. This both supports the variability estimated from surface-ocean carbon data and demonstrates the potential of the atmospheric oxygen signal to constrain ocean biogeochemical processes. The ocean variability estimated from surface-ocean carbon data can be used to improve land CO2 flux estimates from atmospheric inversions.

Rodenbeck, C, Le Quere C, Heimann M, Keeling RF.  2008.  Interannual variability in oceanic biogeochemical processes inferred by inversion of atmospheric O2/N2 and CO2 data. Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology. 60:685-705.   10.1111/j.1600-0889.2008.00375.x   AbstractWebsite

Atmospheric measurements of O(2)/N(2) and CO(2) at up to nine sites have been used to infer the interannual variations in oceanic O(2) exchange with an inverse method. The method distinguishes the regional contributions of three latitudinal bands, partly the individual contributions of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic also. The interannual variations of the inferred O(2) fluxes in the tropical band correlate significantly with the El Nino/Southern Oscillation. Tropical O(2) variations appear to be dominated by the ventilation of the O(2) minimum zone from variations in Pacific equatorial upwelling. The interannual variations of the northern and southern extratropical bands are of similar amplitude, though the attribution to mechanisms is less clear. The interannual variations estimated by the inverse method are larger than those estimated by the current generation of global ocean biogeochemistry models, especially in the North Atlantic, suggesting that the representation of biological processes plays a role. The comparison further suggests that O(2) variability is a more stringent test to validate models than CO(2) variability, because the processes driving O(2) variability combine in the same direction and amplify the underlying climatic signal.

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.