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Eddebbar, YA, Rodgers KB, Long MC, Subramanian AC, Xie SP, Keeling RF.  2019.  El Nino-like physical and biogeochemical ocean response to tropical eruptions. Journal of Climate. 32:2627-2649.   10.1175/jcli-d-18-0458.1   AbstractWebsite

The oceanic response to recent tropical eruptions is examined in Large Ensemble (LE) experiments from two fully coupled global climate models, the Community Earth System Model (CESM) and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Earth System Model (ESM2M), each forced by a distinct volcanic forcing dataset. Following the simulated eruptions of Agung, El Chichon, and Pinatubo, the ocean loses heat and gains oxygen and carbon, in general agreement with available observations. In both models, substantial global surface cooling is accompanied by El Nino-like equatorial Pacific surface warming a year after the volcanic forcing peaks. A mechanistic analysis of the CESM and ESM2M responses to Pinatubo identifies remote wind forcing from the western Pacific as a major driver of this El Nino-like response. Following eruption, faster cooling over the Maritime Continent than adjacent oceans suppresses convection and leads to persistent westerly wind anomalies over the western tropical Pacific. These wind anomalies excite equatorial downwelling Kelvin waves and the upwelling of warm subsurface anomalies in the eastern Pacific, promoting the development of El Nino conditions through Bjerknes feedbacks a year after eruption. This El Nino-like response drives further ocean heat loss through enhanced equatorial cloud albedo, and dominates global carbon uptake as upwelling of carbon-rich waters is suppressed in the tropical Pacific. Oxygen uptake occurs primarily at high latitudes, where surface cooling intensifies the ventilation of subtropical thermocline waters. These volcanically forced ocean responses are large enough to contribute to the observed decadal variability in oceanic heat, carbon, and oxygen.

Stephens, BB, Long MC, Keeling RF, Kort EA, Sweeney C, Apel EC, Atlas EL, Beaton S, Bent JD, Blake NJ, Bresch JF, Casey J, Daube BC, Diao MH, Diaz E, Dierssen H, Donets V, Gao BC, Gierach M, Green R, Haag J, Hayman M, Hills AJ, Hoecker-Martinez MS, Honomichl SB, Hornbrook RS, Jensen JB, Li RR, McCubbin I, McKain K, Morgan EJ, Nolte S, Powers JG, Rainwater B, Randolph K, Reeves M, Schauffler SM, Smith K, Smith M, Stith J, Stossmeister G, Toohey DW, Watt AS.  2018.  The O-2/N-2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean Study. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 99:381-402.   10.1175/bams-d-16-0206.1   AbstractWebsite

The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in the global climate system by mediating atmosphere-ocean partitioning of heat and carbon dioxide. However, Earth system models are demonstrably deficient in the Southern Ocean, leading to large uncertainties in future air-sea CO2 flux projections under climate warming and incomplete interpretations of natural variability on interannual to geologic time scales. Here, we describe a recent aircraft observational campaign, the O-2/N-2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean (ORCAS) study, which collected measurements over the Southern Ocean during January and February 2016. The primary research objective of the ORCAS campaign was to improve observational constraints on the seasonal exchange of atmospheric carbon dioxide and oxygen with the Southern Ocean. The campaign also included measurements of anthropogenic and marine biogenic reactive gases; high-resolution, hyperspectral ocean color imaging of the ocean surface; and microphysical data relevant for understanding and modeling cloud processes. In each of these components of the ORCAS project, the campaign has significantly expanded the amount of observational data available for this remote region. Ongoing research based on these observations will contribute to advancing our understanding of this climatically important system across a range of topics including carbon cycling, atmospheric chemistry and transport, and cloud physics. This article presents an overview of the scientific and methodological aspects of the ORCAS project and highlights early findings.

Keeling, RF, Graven HD, Welp LR, Resplandy L, Bi J, Piper SC, Sun Y, Bollenbacher A, Meijer HAJ.  2017.  Atmospheric evidence for a global secular increase in carbon isotopic discrimination of land photosynthesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114:10361-10366.   10.1073/pnas.1619240114   AbstractWebsite

A decrease in the C-13/C-12 ratio of atmospheric CO2 has been documented by direct observations since 1978 and from ice core measurements since the industrial revolution. This decrease, known as the C-13-Suess effect, is driven primarily by the input of fossil fuel-derived CO2 but is also sensitive to land and ocean carbon cycling and uptake. Using updated records, we show that no plausible combination of sources and sinks of CO2 from fossil fuel, land, and oceans can explain the observed C-13-Suess effect unless an increase has occurred in the C-13/C-12 isotopic discrimination of land photosynthesis. A trend toward greater discrimination under higher CO2 levels is broadly consistent with tree ring studies over the past century, with field and chamber experiments, and with geological records of C-3 plants at times of altered atmospheric CO2, but increasing discrimination has not previously been included in studies of long-term atmospheric 13C/12C measurements. We further show that the inferred discrimination increase of 0.014 +/- 0.007% ppm(-1) is largely explained by photorespiratory and mesophyll effects. This result implies that, at the global scale, land plants have regulated their stomatal conductance so as to allow the CO2 partial pressure within stomatal cavities and their intrinsic water use efficiency to increase in nearly constant proportion to the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

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.

Graven, HD, Keeling RF, Piper SC, Patra PK, Stephens BB, Wofsy SC, Welp LR, Sweeney C, Tans PP, Kelley JJ, Daube BC, Kort EA, Santoni GW, Bent JD.  2013.  Enhanced seasonal exchange of CO2 by northern ecosystems since 1960. Science. 341:1085-1089.   10.1126/science.1239207   AbstractWebsite

Seasonal variations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Northern Hemisphere have increased since the 1950s, but sparse observations have prevented a clear assessment of the patterns of long-term change and the underlying mechanisms. We compare recent aircraft-based observations of CO2 above the North Pacific and Arctic Oceans to earlier data from 1958 to 1961 and find that the seasonal amplitude at altitudes of 3 to 6 km increased by 50% for 45 degrees to 90 degrees N but by less than 25% for 10 degrees to 45 degrees N. An increase of 30 to 60% in the seasonal exchange of CO2 by northern extratropical land ecosystems, focused on boreal forests, is implicated, substantially more than simulated by current land ecosystem models. The observations appear to signal large ecological changes in northern forests and a major shift in the global carbon cycle.

Manning, MR, Edmonds J, Emori S, Grubler A, Hibbard K, Joos F, Kainuma M, Keeling RF, Kram T, Manning AC, Meinshausen M, Moss R, Nakicenovic N, Riahi K, Rose SK, Smith S, Swart R, van Vuuren DP.  2010.  Misrepresentation of the IPCC CO2 emission scenarios. Nature Geoscience. 3:376-377.   10.1038/ngeo880   AbstractWebsite