Rain impacts on CO2 exchange in the western equatorial Pacific Ocean

Turk, Daniela; Zappa, Christopher J.; Meinen, Christopher S.; Christian, James R.; Ho, David T.; Dickson, Andrew G.; McGillis, Wade R.

The ocean plays a major role in the global carbon cycle through the atmosphere-ocean partitioning of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Rain alters the physics and carbon chemistry at the ocean surface to increase the amount of CO2 taken up by the ocean. This paper presents the results of a preliminary study wherein rain measurements in the western equatorial Pacific are used to determine the enhanced transfer, chemical dilution and deposition effects of rain on air-sea CO2 exchange. Including these processes, the western equatorial Pacific CO2 flux is modified from an ocean source of +0.019 mol CO2 m−2 yr−1 to an ocean sink of −0.078 mol CO2 m−2 yr−1. This new understanding of rain effects changes the ocean's role in the global carbon budget, particularly in regions with low winds and high precipitation.

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Also Published In

Geophysical Research Letters

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
American Geophysical Union
Published Here
February 29, 2016