Volume 84, Issue 21 p. 197-201
Free Access

Trends in marine dissolved oxygen: Implications for ocean circulation changes and the carbon budget

Fortunat Joos

Fortunat Joos

Physics Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland

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Gian-Kasper Plattner

Gian-Kasper Plattner

Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics University of California, Los Angeles

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Thomas F. Stocker

Thomas F. Stocker

Physics Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland

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Arne Körtzinger

Arne Körtzinger

Institute for Marine Research, University of Kiel, Germany

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Douglas W. R. Wallace

Douglas W. R. Wallace

Institute for Marine Research, University of Kiel, Germany

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First published: 03 June 2011
Citations: 94

Abstract

Recent measurements and model studies have consistently identified a decreasing trend in the concentration of dissolved O2 in the ocean over the last several decades. This trend has important implications for our understanding of anthropogenic climate change. First, the observed oceanic oxygen changes may be a signal of the beginning of a reorganization of large-scale ocean circulation in response to anthropogenic radiative forcing. Second, the repartitioning of oxygen between the ocean and the atmosphere requires a revision of the current atmospheric carbon budget and the estimates of the terrestrial and oceanic carbon sinks as calculated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from measurements of atmospheric O2/N2.