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Pacific climate variability and the possible impact on global surface CO2 flux

Author(s): Okajima Hideki | Kawamiya Michio

Journal: Carbon Balance and Management
ISSN 1750-0680

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 8;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background Climate variability modifies both oceanic and terrestrial surface CO2 flux. Using observed/assimilated data sets, earlier studies have shown that tropical oceanic climate variability has strong impacts on the land surface temperature and soil moisture, and that there is a negative correlation between the oceanic and terrestrial CO2 fluxes. However, these data sets only cover less than the most recent 20 years and are insufficient for identifying decadal and longer periodic variabilities. To investigate possible impacts of interannual to interdecadal climate variability on CO2 flux exchange, the last 125 years of an earth system model (ESM) control run are examined. Results Global integration of the terrestrial CO2 flux anomaly shows variation much greater in amplitude and longer in periodic timescale than the oceanic flux. The terrestrial CO2 flux anomaly correlates negatively with the oceanic flux in some periods, but positively in others, as the periodic timescale is different between the two variables. To determine the spatial pattern of the variability, a series of composite analyses are performed. The results show that the oceanic CO2 flux variability peaks when the eastern tropical Pacific has a large sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA). By contrast, the terrestrial CO2 flux variability peaks when the SSTA appears in the central tropical Pacific. The former pattern of variability resembles the ENSO-mode and the latter the ENSO-modoki1. Conclusions Our results imply that the oceanic and terrestrial CO2 flux anomalies may correlate either positively or negatively depending on the relative phase of these two modes in the tropical Pacific.
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