A Simple Model of Chemistry Effects on the Air-Sea CO2 Exchange Coefficient

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  • Hans E. Jørgensen, Technical University of Denmark
  • ,
  • Lise Lotte Sørensen
  • Søren E. Larsen, Technical University of Denmark

The transfer of CO2 between air and water can be quantified by the use of a transfer or exchange coefficient. Here we have studied the effect on the exchange coefficient of CO2 from inclusion of the carbonate buffer system in water. The methodology has been to solve the flux budget for the chemical reaction equations in the water column, combining the vertical flux in the air and the flux across the interface by the introduction of a so called resistance model for the whole system where the system has been simplified with respect to variation of certain parameters. The thermal effects on the flow and chemistry modeling have in the present study not been included, although this also plays a significant role on the air-sea exchange. The model shows the effects on the air-sea exchange coefficient from the carbonate chemistry in the water column are negligible if the measurements are taken at sufficient depth in the water. Hence, it is found that the skin layer or interface layer contains the largest resistance and therefore controls the flux. It is also shown that measurement of the near-surface CO2 gradients in ocean water is very difficult, as the gradients of CO2 occur within the first meter from the water surface. In reality, the equilibrium is reached within the first meter from the water surface. The results justify the use of standard methods to estimate the flux of CO2 by measuring a concentration at typical larger than 3 m depth and 10 m above the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2018JC014808
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

    Research areas

  • air-sea exchange, carbon dioxide, flux

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