SeaFlux: harmonization of air–sea CO2 fluxes from surface pCO2 data products using a standardized approach

Air–sea flux of carbon dioxide (CO2) is a critical component of the global carbon cycle and the climate system with the ocean removing about a quarter of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere by human activities over the last decade. A common approach to estimate this net flux of CO2 across the air–sea interface is the use of surface ocean CO2 observations and the computation of the flux through a bulk parameterization approach. Yet, the details for how this is done in order to arrive at a global ocean CO2 uptake estimate vary greatly, enhancing the spread of estimates. Here we introduce the ensemble data product, SeaFlux (Gregor and Fay, 2021,​​​​​​​,, last access: 9 September 2021​​​​​​​); this resource enables users to harmonize an ensemble of products that interpolate surface ocean CO2 observations to near-global coverage with a common methodology to fill in missing areas in the products. Further, the dataset provides the inputs to calculate fluxes in a consistent manner. Utilizing six global observation-based mapping products (CMEMS-FFNN, CSIR-ML6, JENA-MLS, JMA-MLR, MPI-SOMFFN, NIES-FNN), the SeaFlux ensemble approach adjusts for methodological inconsistencies in flux calculations. We address differences in spatial coverage of the surface ocean CO2 between the mapping products, which ultimately yields an increase in CO2 uptake of up to 17 % for some products. Fluxes are calculated using three wind products (CCMPv2, ERA5, and JRA55). Application of a scaled gas exchange coefficient has a greater impact on the resulting flux than solely the choice of wind product. With these adjustments, we present an ensemble of global surface ocean pCO2 and air–sea carbon flux estimates. This work aims to support the community effort to perform model–data intercomparisons which will help to identify missing fluxes as we strive to close the global carbon budget.

Fay A. R., Gregor L., Landschützer P., McKinley G. A., Gruber N., Gehlen M., Iida Y., Laruelle G. G., Rödenbeck C., Roobaert A. & Zeng J., 2021. SeaFlux: harmonization of air–sea CO2 fluxes from surface pCO2 data products using a standardized approach. Earth System Science Data 13(10): 4693–4710. Article.

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