Effect of the nonlinearity of the carbonate system on partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the oceans
Moore, R. M.
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Partial pressure of CO sub(2) is a nonlinear function of several seawater properties. Due to the nonlinearity in this relationship, the partial pressure of a uniform ocean would be different from that of a nonuniform ocean with the same bulk seawater properties. Assuming uniformity of seawater properties at some temporal and spatial scales in carbon models leads to systematic errors in partial pressure of CO sub(2). In this paper we evaluate the magnitude of these errors. We partition the Geochemical Ocean Sections Study and Transient Tracers in the Oceans data according to the horizontal structure of several box models from the literature. Our results suggest that assumption of uniformity at large scales leads to underestimation of global surface ocean partial pressure of CO sub(2) by at least 3-12 mu atm. Nonlinear effects also introduce systematic errors in the buffer factor estimated from bulk seawater properties. We find the standard deviation of partial pressure of CO sub(2) to be an indicator of the magnitude of the nonlinear effects. We discuss the implications of these errors for some conclusions drawn from carbon models. Biogeochemical processes, such as mixing, gas exchange, or biological activity, influence the distribution of the seawater properties. A shift in spatial or temporal patterns of these processes can modify the nonuniformity of the seawater properties and thus alter the partial pressure of the surface waters, even if the mean intensities of the processes remain constant.
Trela, P., S. Sathyendranath, R. M. Moore, and DE Kelley. 1995. "Effect of the nonlinearity of the carbonate system on partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the oceans." Journal of Geophysical Research.C.Oceans 100(C4): 6829-6844. DOI:10.1029/94JC02573
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