Sea absorbing less CO2, scientists discover?

So says The Grauniad. It seems eerily familiar to me, and the The shift has alarmed experts, who blame global warming almost seems like a parody. Torygraph tags along.

Oh yes, here we were and here.

The new study says The results showed the amount of CO2 absorbed during 1999 to 2007 was half the level recorded from 1992 to 1999. This is all very well, but it cant be global, or it would be obvious in the atmospheric CO2 levels. And it isn’t.

6 thoughts on “Sea absorbing less CO2, scientists discover?”

  1. “This is all very well, but it cant be global, or it would be obvious in the atmospheric CO2 levels”

    How would that manifest itself in the Mauna Loa data?

    Tamino over at Open Mind makes a case that CO2 is increasing at an increasing rate.

    Would this be a ‘signal’ that ocean C02 absorption is down? Or would the signal look different? Or am I missing something here?

    [OM’s results, to my eye, show he “expected” acceleration from an exponential rise. Whether you could see an decrease in ocean absorption from that data I’m not sure. I think OM is better placed to do the analysis than me, and have tried to interest him in doing it! There might even be a paper in it 🙂 -W]


  2. To be fair to the Gaurdian, they don’t say anything about the effect being global. Nor does the study.

    The telegraph is another matter… “He warned that the phenomenon is unlikely to be confined to the Sea of Japan.” – I’m sure he didn’t. He probably said something along the lines of “if this happens in the Sea of Japan, it probably could happen elsewhere”… tabloids, eh?


  3. In the context of some massive inflations on the denialist side as were annual exchange exceeding 350 GT, 9.4 GT added by humans seems small. Still, from 280 ppmv to 385 ppmv seems a rather drastic increase and rather contradictory to those inflated values of exchange. Someone over at Wotsoup speculated 80 GT daily, which, well, there must be mushrooms involved. We have a pretty good idea how much is stored where, with an unaccounted amount disappearing from the atmosphere anyhow. What if we do reach tilt point and that part suddenly stops. Who knows the next Eureka says it’s disappearing into space, which then should get us worrying about what else leaves into space when CO2 is only 385 ppmv.


  4. naught101 wrote:

    To be fair to the Gaurdian, they don’t say anything about the effect being global. Nor does the study.

    That really is it for the mystery, then.

    There are a variety places in the ocean that act as sinks for carbon dioxide, and not just the obvious ones (e.g., Arctic and Antarctic), either. Ocean circulation and deep water formation play a role, too. But over the past couple of years articles have been coming out to the effect that some of those sinks aren’t as strong as they were. Other sinks (e.g., certain forests in Canada) are becoming sources. And yet nature has been absorbing more or less a fixed percentage of our carbon dioxide and emissions have continued to grow — implying that some sinks have been absorbing more, compensating for the increased emissions. However, atmospheric CO2 has been growing at an accelerating rate, and Tamino found that this was statistically significant.


  5. How about the growth rate of emissions? I’m too lazy to check. Acceleration of CO2 increase itself does not say anything about sinks and sources.

    Tamino shows a nice fit two a second-degree polynomial, but (temporally) locally the underlying growth could as well be exponential, as economical growth tends to be.

    Ocean sinks and sources might be more diverse than we know, and there might be a research focus and publication bias favoring more worrying results.

    (No, I’m not a denialist.)


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