Distribution of anthropogenic CO2 in the Pacific Ocean

C. L. Sabine, R. A. Feely, R. M. Key, J. L. Bullister, F. J. Millero, K. Lee, T. H. Peng, B. Tilbrook, T. Ono, C. S. Wong

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120 Scopus citations


This work presents an estimate of anthropogenic CO2 in the Pacific Ocean based on measurements from the WOCE/JGOFS/OACES global CO2 survey. These estimates used a modified version of the ΔC* technique. Modifications include a revised preformed alkalinity term, a correction for denitrification, and an evaluation of the disequilibrium terms using an optimum multiparameter analysis. The total anthropogenic CO2 inventory over an area from 120°E to 70°W and 70°S to 65°N (excluding the South China Sea, the Yellow Sea, the Japan/East Sea, and the Sea of Okhotsk) was 44.5 ± 5 Pg C in 1994. Approximately 28 Pg C was located in the Southern Hemisphere and 16.5 Pg C was located north of the equator. The deepest penetration of anthropogenic CO2 is found at about 50°S. The shallowest penetration is found just north of the equator. Very shallow anthropogenic CO2 penetration is also generally observed in the high-latitude Southern Ocean. One exception to this is found in the far southwestern Pacific where there is evidence of anthropogenic CO2 in the northward moving bottom waters. In the North Pacific a strong zonal gradient is observed in the anthropogenic CO2 penetration depth with the deepest penetration in the western Pacific. The Pacific has the largest total inventory in all of the southern latitudes despite the fact that it generally has the lowest average inventory when normalized to a unit area. The lack of deep and bottom water formation in the North Pacific means that the North Pacific inventories are smaller than the North Atlantic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-1 - 30-17
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthropogenic CO
  • Carbon cycle
  • Delta C*
  • Optimum multiparameter analysis
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Total CO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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