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Air-sea exchange of CO2 over the Antarctic seasonal ice zone

Beggs, Helen Mary 1995 , 'Air-sea exchange of CO2 over the Antarctic seasonal ice zone', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The Antarctic Seasonal Ice Zone (ASIZ) is potentially a large contemporary sink for
anthropogenic CO2 due to the formation of bottom water along the Antarctic coast.
However, south of 55°S, the lack of measurements of the fugacity of CO2 in surface
seawater (fCO2), or the concentration and ratio of stable carbon isotopes of
atmospheric CO2, has meant that it has been difficult to determine whether the ASIZ
acts as a net source or sink for atmospheric CO2. This study contributes to, and is
largely based on, new measurement programmes of oceanic fCO 2 and the
concentration and 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 over the region of the Southern
Ocean between Australia and the Antarctic continent, with particular emphasis on data
from regions of pack ice.
Using fCO2 data from six voyages of the RSV Aurora Australis, it was estimated that
between 1 October 1992 and 31 March 1993 the ocean south of 55°S, between 60°E
and 150°E, sequestered 0.025 ± 0.013 Gt C over an area of ocean equivalent to 19%
of the maximum area of open water south of 55°S. The CO2 sink was most
pronounced west of 105°E (0.026 ± 0.013 Gt C), where it was associated with intense
summer phytoplankton blooms following the melting of sea-ice.
In conjunction with the sampling of oceanic fCO 2, flasks were regularly filled on the
ship with dry air and later analysed for levels of CO2 and its 13C/12C ratio. This
provided the opportunity to observe atmospheric variations directly forced by
fluctuations in fCO2, temperature, and the 13C112C ratio of dissolved inorganic carbon
(DIC) in the surface ocean. Sea surface temperature and 13C/12C-DIC effects are transmitted to the atmosphere by
gross air-sea fluxes of CO2 in the absence of net exchange. Over the ice-free region of
the Southern Ocean between 44°S and 60°S, from 85°E to 160°E, atmospheric
13CO2/12CO2 values were dominated by a linear dependence on sea surface temperature
(0.0041 ± 0.0003 °/00 °C-1 ), due to the "equilibrium" isotopic fractionation of CO2
during air-sea exchange. During late spring and summer, over the region of the ASIZ south of 60°S, between 60°E and 105°E, the effect of sea surface temperature on
atmospheric 13CO2/12CO2 values was overwhelmed by the effect of high marine
productivity on 13C/12C -DIC.
It is demonstrated that the impact of net air-sea flux of 13CO2 on atmospheric ratios of
13CO2/12CO2 can be measured more easily than the impact of net CO2 flux on
atmospheric mixing ratios of CO2 . Long-term changes in sea surface temperature and
productivity over the ASIZ, and therefore net ocean uptake, can be more accurately
determined from isotopic ratios of 13CO2/12CO2 in baseline air samples from a coastal
Antarctic station, than from mixing ratios of CO2 in the same samples.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Beggs, Helen Mary
Keywords: Atmospheric carbon dioxide, Carbon dioxide, Ocean temperature, Ocean-atmosphere interaction
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1995 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1997. Includes bibliographical references

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