Joint Seminar: Asymmetries in the Southern Ocean contribution to global heat and carbon uptake

The Southern Ocean provides dominant contributions to global ocean heat and carbon uptake, which is widely interpreted as being a consequence of its unique upwelling and circulation. Here we show that there is an asymmetry in these contributions with the Southern Ocean providing 83%+/-33% of global heat uptake versus 43%+/-3% of global ocean carbon uptake over the historical period in state-of-the-art climate models. We explore the controls of this asymmetry using single-radiative forcing experiments. In future projections, such as the shared-socio-economic pathway SSP2-4.5, greenhouse gases increasingly dominate radiative forcing, the Southern Ocean contributions to global heat and carbon uptake reach similar proportions, 52%+/-5% and 47%+/-3% respectively. Hence, the past is not a reliable indicator of the future with the northern oceans becoming important for heat uptake, while the Southern Ocean becomes of comparable important for heat and carbon.




13:30–15:00 h


Bundesstr. 53, room 022/023
Seminar Room 022/023, Ground Floor, Bundesstrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Hamburg


Tatiana Ilyina

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