11.4 Constraints on Southern Ocean CO2 Fluxes and Seasonality from Atmospheric Vertical Gradients Observed on Multiple Airborne Campaigns

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 11:30 AM
Room 18CD (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Kathryn McKain, NOAA, Boulder, CO; and C. Sweeney, B. B. Stephens, M. C. Long, A. Jacobson, S. Basu, A. Chatterjee, B. Weir, S. Wofsy, E. Atlas, D. R. Blake, S. A. Montzka, and R. Stern

The Southern Ocean plays an important role in the global carbon cycle and climate system, but net CO2 flux into the Southern Ocean is difficult to measure and model because it results from large opposing and seasonally-varying fluxes due to thermal forcing, biological uptake, and deep-water mixing. We present an analysis to constrain the seasonal cycle of net CO2 exchange with the Southern Ocean, and the magnitude of summer uptake, using the vertical gradients in atmospheric CO2 observed during three aircraft campaigns in the southern polar region. The O2/N2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean Study (ORCAS) was an airborne campaign that intensively sampled the atmosphere at 0-13 km altitude and 45-75 degrees south latitude in the austral summer (January-February) of 2016. The global airborne campaigns, the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) study and the Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom), provide additional measurements over the Southern Ocean from other seasons and multiple years (2009-2011, 2016-2017). Derivation of fluxes from measured vertical gradients requires robust estimates of the residence time of air in the polar tropospheric domain, and of the contribution of long-range transport from northern latitudes outside the domain to the CO2 gradient. We use diverse independent approaches to estimate both terms, including simulations using multiple transport and flux models, and observed gradients of shorter-lived tracers with specific sources regions and well-known loss processes. This study demonstrates the utility of aircraft profile measurements for constraining large-scale air-sea fluxes for the Southern Ocean, in contrast to those derived from the extrapolation of sparse ocean and atmospheric measurements and uncertain flux parameterizations.
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