Carbon Dioxide Transport in Surface Waters and Lower Atmospheric Studies


Friday, September 16, 2005, 3:30 PM

Room 833 SWM Building

Professor Wade R. McGillis

Earth and Environmental Engineering



Quantification of atmospheric CO2 controls is a high scientific Priority because of the ecological and economic consequences of rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Several national and international science goals outline the need to constrain the oceanic sources and. Currently about 1.5 ± 0.4 x 1014 mol CO2 (approximately 1.7 x 109 metric ton C) is absorbed by the ocean every year making it the largest sustained Sink of excess atmospheric CO2 resulting from fossil fuel burning. The magnitude and direction of the gas flux between the ocean and atmosphere varies interannually, by season, and by region. For adequate projections of future CO2 levels, improved knowledge of the air-sea flux is critical. Atmospheric CO2 levels need on average to be about 2% (approximately 6 µatm) greater than the oceanic partial pressure of CO2 to cause an annual uptake of 1.5 1014 moles such that this estimate Is susceptible to small biases in the concentration gradient. An understanding of the surface carbon dioxide aqueous hydrodynamics and air-water carbon dioxide exchange studies in laboratories, rivers, and the open ocean will be presented.