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2018
Le Quere, C, Andrew RM, Friedlingstein P, Sitch S, Hauck J, Pongratz J, Pickers PA, Korsbakken JI, Peters GP, Canadell JG, Arneth A, Arora VK, Barbero L, Bastos A, Bopp L, Chevallier F, Chini LP, Ciais P, Doney SC, Gkritzalis T, Goll DS, Harris I, Haverd V, Hoffman FM, Hoppema M, Houghton RA, Hurtt G, Ilyina T, Jain AK, Johannessen T, Jones CD, Kato E, Keeling RF, Goldewijk KK, Landschutzer P, Lefevre N, Lienert S, Liu Z, Lombardozzi D, Metzl N, Munro DR, Nabel J, Nakaoka S, Neill C, Olsen A, Ono T, Patra P, Peregon A, Peters W, Peylin P, Pfeil B, Pierrot D, Poulter B, Rehder G, Resplandy L, Robertson E, Rocher M, Rodenbeck C, Schuster U, Schwinger J, Seferian R, Skjelvan I, Steinhoff T, Sutton A, Tans PP, Tian HQ, Tilbrook B, Tubiello FN, van der Laan-Luijkx IT, van der Werf GR, Viovy N, Walker AP, Wiltshire AJ, Wright R, Zaehle S, Zheng B.  2018.  Global Carbon Budget 2018. Earth System Science Data. 10:2141-2194.   10.5194/essd-10-2141-2018   AbstractWebsite

Accurate assessment of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and their redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial biosphere - the "global carbon budget" - is important to better understand the global carbon cycle, support the development of climate policies, and project future climate change. Here we describe data sets and methodology to quantify the five major components of the global carbon budget and their uncertainties. Fossil CO2 emissions (E-FF) are based on energy statistics and cement production data, while emissions from land use and land-use change (E-LUC), mainly deforestation, are based on land use and land -use change data and bookkeeping models. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is measured directly and its growth rate (G(ATM)) is computed from the annual changes in concentration. The ocean CO2 sink (S-OCEAN) and terrestrial CO2 sink (S-LAND) are estimated with global process models constrained by observations. The resulting carbon budget imbalance (B-IM), the difference between the estimated total emissions and the estimated changes in the atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial biosphere, is a measure of imperfect data and understanding of the contemporary carbon cycle. All uncertainties are reported as +/- 1 sigma. For the last decade available (2008-2017), E-FF was 9.4 +/- 0.5 GtC yr(-1), E-LUC 1.5 +/- 0.7 GtC yr(-1), G(ATM) 4.7 +/- 0.02 GtC yr(-1), S-OCEAN 2.4 +/- 0.5 GtC yr(-1), and S-LAND 3.2 +/- 0.8 GtC yr(-1), with a budget imbalance B-IM of 0.5 GtC yr(-1) indicating overestimated emissions and/or underestimated sinks. For the year 2017 alone, the growth in E-FF was about 1.6 % and emissions increased to 9.9 +/- 0.5 GtC yr(-1). Also for 2017, E-LUC was 1.4 +/- 0.7 GtC yr(-1), G(ATM) was 4.6 +/- 0.2 GtC yr(-1), S-OCEAN was 2.5 +/- 0.5 GtC yr(-1), and S-LAND was 3.8 +/- 0.8 GtC yr(-1), with a B-IM of 0.3 GtC. The global atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 405.0 +/- 0.1 ppm averaged over 2017. For 2018, preliminary data for the first 6-9 months indicate a renewed growth in E-FF of +2.7 % (range of 1.8 % to 3.7 %) based on national emission projections for China, the US, the EU, and India and projections of gross domestic product corrected for recent changes in the carbon intensity of the economy for the rest of the world. The analysis presented here shows that the mean and trend in the five components of the global carbon budget are consistently estimated over the period of 1959-2017, but discrepancies of up to 1 GtC yr(-1) persist for the representation of semi-decadal variability in CO2 fluxes. A detailed comparison among individual estimates and the introduction of a broad range of observations show (1) no consensus in the mean and trend in land -use change emissions, (2) a persistent low agreement among the different methods on the magnitude of the land CO2 flux in the northern extra-tropics, and (3) an apparent underestimation of the CO2 variability by ocean models, originating outside the tropics. This living data update documents changes in the methods and data sets used in this new global carbon budget and the progress in understanding the global carbon cycle compared with previous publications of this data set (Le Quere et al., 2018, 2016, 2015a, b, 2014, 2013). All results presented here can be downloaded from https://doi.org/10.18160/GCP-2018.

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.

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.

2016
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.

Forkel, M, Carvalhais N, Rodenbeck C, Keeling R, Heimann M, Thonicke K, Zaehle S, Reichstein M.  2016.  Enhanced seasonal CO2 exchange caused by amplified plant productivity in northern ecosystems. Science. 351:696-699.   10.1126/science.aac4971   AbstractWebsite

Atmospheric monitoring of high northern latitudes (above 40 degrees N) has shown an enhanced seasonal cycle of carbon dioxide (CO2) since the 1960s, but the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood. The much stronger increase in high latitudes relative to low ones suggests that northern ecosystems are experiencing large changes in vegetation and carbon cycle dynamics. We found that the latitudinal gradient of the increasing CO2 amplitude is mainly driven by positive trends in photosynthetic carbon uptake caused by recent climate change and mediated by changing vegetation cover in northern ecosystems. Our results underscore the importance of climate-vegetation-carbon cycle feedbacks at high latitudes; moreover, they indicate that in recent decades, photosynthetic carbon uptake has reacted much more strongly to warming than have carbon release processes.

2011
Welp, LR, Keeling RF, Meijer HAJ, Bollenbacher AF, Piper SC, Yoshimura K, Francey RJ, Allison CE, Wahlen M.  2011.  Interannual variability in the oxygen isotopes of atmospheric CO2 driven by El Nino. Nature. 477:579-582.   10.1038/nature10421   AbstractWebsite

The stable isotope ratios of atmospheric CO2 (O-18/O-16 and C-13/C-12) have been monitored since 1977 to improve our understanding of the global carbon cycle, because biosphere-atmosphere exchange fluxes affect the different atomic masses in a measurable way(1). Interpreting the O-18/O-16 variability has proved difficult, however, because oxygen isotopes in CO2 are influenced by both the carbon cycle and the water cycle(2). Previous attention focused on the decreasing O-18/O-16 ratio in the 1990s, observed by the global Cooperative Air Sampling Network of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory. This decrease was attributed variously to a number of processes including an increase in Northern Hemisphere soil respiration(3); a global increase in C-4 crops at the expense of C-3 forests(4); and environmental conditions, such as atmospheric turbulence(5) and solar radiation(6), that affect CO2 exchange between leaves and the atmosphere. Here we present 30 years' worth of data on O-18/O-16 in CO2 from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography global flask network and show that the interannual variability is strongly related to the El Nino/Southern Oscillation. We suggest that the redistribution of moisture and rainfall in the tropics during an El Nino increases the O-18/O-16 ratio of precipitation and plant water, and that this signal is then passed on to atmospheric CO2 by biosphere-atmosphere gas exchange. We show how the decay time of the El Nino anomaly in this data set can be useful in constraining global gross primary production. Our analysis shows a rapid recovery from El Nino events, implying a shorter cycling time of CO2 with respect to the terrestrial biosphere and oceans than previously estimated. Our analysis suggests that current estimates of global gross primary production, of 120 petagrams of carbon per year(7), may be too low, and that a best guess of 150-175 petagrams of carbon per year better reflects the observed rapid cycling of CO2. Although still tentative, such a revision would present a new benchmark by which to evaluate global biospheric carbon cycling models.

Keeling, RF, Visbeck M.  2011.  On the linkage between Antarctic surface water stratification and global deep-water temperature. Journal of Climate. 24:3545-3557.   10.1175/2011jcli3642.1   AbstractWebsite

The suggestion is advanced that the remarkably low static stability of Antarctic surface waters may arise from a feedback loop involving global deep-water temperatures. If deep-water temperatures are too warm, this promotes Antarctic convection, thereby strengthening the inflow of Antarctic Bottom Water into the ocean interior and cooling the deep ocean. If deep waters are too cold, this promotes Antarctic stratification allowing the deep ocean to warm because of the input of North Atlantic Deep Water. A steady-state deep-water temperature is achieved such that the Antarctic surface can barely undergo convection. A two-box model is used to illustrate this feedback loop in its simplest expression and to develop basic concepts, such as the bounds on the operation of this loop. The model illustrates the possible dominating influence of Antarctic upwelling rate and Antarctic freshwater balance on global deep-water temperatures.

2003
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.

1998
Keeling, RF, Stephens BB, Najjar RG, Doney SC, Archer D, Heimann M.  1998.  Seasonal variations in the atmospheric O2/N2 ratio in relation to the kinetics of air-sea gas exchange. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 12:141-163.   10.1029/97gb02339   AbstractWebsite

Observations of seasonal variations in the atmospheric O-2/N-2 ratio are reported at nine baseline sites in the northern and southern hemispheres. Concurrent CO2 measurements are used to correct for the effects of land biotic exchanges of O-2 on the O-2/N-2 cycles thus allowing the residual component of the cycles due to oceanic exchanges of O-2 and N-2 to be calculated. The residual oceanic cycles in the northern hemisphere are nearly diametrically out of phase with the cycles in the southern hemisphere. The maxima in both hemispheres occur in summer. In both hemispheres, the middle-latitude sea level stations show the cycles with largest amplitudes and earliest phasing. Somewhat smaller amplitudes are observed at the high-latitude stations, and much smaller amplitudes are observed at the tropical stations. A model for simulating the oceanic component of the atmospheric O-2/N-2 cycles is presented consisting of the TM2 atmospheric tracer transport model [Heimann, 1995] driven at the lower boundary by O-2 fluxes derived from observed O-2 saturation anomalies in surface waters and by N-2 fluxes derived from the net air-sea heat flux. The model is optimized to fit the observed atmospheric O-2/N-2 cycles by adjusting the air-sea gas-exchange velocity, which relates O-2 anomaly to O-2 flux. The optimum fit corresponds to spatially and temporally averaged exchange velocities of 24+/-6 cm/hr for the oceans north of 31 degrees N and 29+/-12 cm/hr for the oceans south of 31 degrees S. These velocities agree to within the uncertainties with the gas-exchange velocities expected from the Wanninkhof [1992] formulation of the air-sea gas-exchange velocity combined with European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts winds [Gibson et al., 1997] but are larger than the exchange velocities expected from the Liss and Merlivat [1986] relation using the same winds. The results imply that the gas-exchange velocity for O-2, like that of CO2, may be enhanced in the open ocean by processes that were not systematically accounted for in the experiments used to derive the Liss and Merlivat relation.

1993
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.