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Higher CO2 emissions, lower ocean storage

CO2 emissions since 2000 exceed the most fossil-fuel intensive IPCC scenarios of the 1990s, according to a new study by Raupach et al. (2007 in press, PNAS).

The increasing emissions are due to the slow acceleration of the global economy and greater reliance on fossil fuels of developing economies such as China. The result is that the growth rate of CO2 emissions has almost tripled post-2000 compared to the decade before.

The study analyses publicly available time-series datasets of indices on CO2 emissions and economic growth between 1980-2004 (UN, IMF, Energy Information Administration). The increase however is not only due to direct anthropogenic pressure. A parallel study by Schuster & Watson (2007, in press) claims that the North Atlantic capacity to absorb atmospheric CO2 is half its mid-1990s level. The decreasing CO2-absopbing capacity of the North Atlantic is reported months after a modeling study by Le Quere et al. (2007) reported results from simulations with the the PISCES-T biogeochemical model, that the Southern Ocean is also supersaturating with CO2.


Raupach, M. R., G. Marland, P. Ciais, C. Le Quere*, J. G. Canadell, G. Klepper & C. B. Field, 2007. Global and regional drivers of accelerating CO2 emissions. PNAS 104,24 DOI:10.1073/pnas.0700609104

Schuster, U., and A. J. Watson, 2007. A variable and decreasing sink of CO2 in the North Atlantic. J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2006JC003941, in press.

Corinne Le Quere*, Christian Rodenbeck, Erik T. Buitenhuis*, Thomas J. Conway, Ray Langenfelds, Antony Gomez, Casper Labuschagne, Michel Ramonet, Takakiyo Nakazawa, Nicolas Metzl, Nathan Gillett, Martin Heimann, 2007. Saturation of the Southern Ocean CO2 Sink Due to Recent Climate Change, Science 17 May 2007 *EUROCEANS PIs

- PISCES biogeochemical equations (provided by EUROCEANS Model Shopping Tool);
- NATURENEWS – Greenhouse-gas levels accelerating;
- BBC News Online - Oceans are Soaking up Less CO2

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