The marine carbon cycle of the Arctic ocean: Some thoughts about the controls on air-sea CO2 exchanges and responses to ocean acidification

The Arctic Ocean and the shallow continental margins that surround it (Fig. 1) play an important and likely increasing role in the global freshwater cycle, Atlantic overturning circulation, and biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nutrients, and gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. The region is particularly sensitive to atmosphere-ocean-sea-ice forcing and feedbacks and ecosystem changes associated with warming temperatures and sea-ice loss. Numer- ous studies over the last decade have shown that warming and increased sea-ice loss is occurring in the Arctic and the IPCC Fourth Assessment reported that average Arctic tem- peratures have increased over the last century at nearly twice the global average and since 1978, sea-ice extent decreased on average by 2.7% per decade. However, over the last several years, the pace of decline has acceler- ated beyond model predictions and in summer 2007, sea-ice extent declined by 20-25% with an additional loss of ~1.5 million km2. Much of this loss occurred over the deep Makarov and Canada Basins of the Arctic Ocean (Fig. 1). Although ice extent rebound- ed in 2008 and 2009, the duration of ice-free conditions in the Arctic continues to increase.

Mathis, J. T., & Bates, N. R., 2010. The marine carbon cycle of the Arctic ocean: Some thoughts about the controls on air-sea CO2 exchanges and responses to ocean acidification. OCB Newsletter 3(2):1-5. Article.

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