• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Sea-air CO2 fluxes and carbon transport: a comparison of three ocean general circulation models

Global Biogeochemical Cycles (2000)
Sarmiento J L, Monfray P, Maier-Reimer E, Aumont O, Murnane R and Orr J C (eds)
Doi: 10.1029/1999GB900062
Vol 14; Issue 4; pp. 1267-1281

Many estimates of the atmospheric carbon budget suggest that most of the sink for CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning and cement production must be in the Northern Hemisphere. Keeling et al. [1989] hypothesized that this asymmetry could be explained instead by a northward preindustrial transport of ∼1 Pg C y−1 in the atmosphere balanced by an equal and opposite southward transport in the ocean. We explore this hypothesis by examining the processes that determine the magnitude of the preindustrial interhemispheric flux of carbon in three ocean carbon models. This study is part of the first stage of the Ocean Carbon Model Intercomparison Project organized by International Geosphere Biosphere Programme Global Analysis, Interpretation, and Modelling Task Force. We find that the combination of interhemispheric heat transport (with its associated carbon transport), a finite gas exchange, and the biological pump, yield a carbon flux of only −0.12 to +0.04 Pg C y−1 across the equator (positive to the north). An important reason for the low carbon transport is the decoupling of the carbon flux from the interhemispheric heat transport due to the long sea-air equilibration time for surface CO2. A possible additional influence on the interhemispheric exchange is oceanic transport of carbon from rivers.

Share this page
Tell a friend (opens in new window)
Follow us

Please note!

IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

No events available

  • Global Change Magazine No. 84

    This final issue of the magazine takes stock of IGBP’s scientific and institutional accomplishments as well as its contributions to policy and capacity building. It features interviews of several past...

  • Global Change Magazine No. 83

    This issue features a special section on carbon. You can read about peak greenhouse-gas emissions in China, the mitigation of black carbon emissions and the effect of the 2010-2011 La Niña event on gl...