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Sea ice suppression of CO2 outgassing in the West Antarctic Peninsula: implications for the evolving Southern Ocean carbon sink


Shadwick, EH and De Meo, OA and Schroeter, S and Arroyo, MC and Martinson, DG and Ducklow, H, Sea ice suppression of CO2 outgassing in the West Antarctic Peninsula: implications for the evolving Southern Ocean carbon sink, Geophysical Research Letters, 48, (11) Article e2020GL091835. ISSN 0094-8276 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2021. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, (, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

DOI: doi:10.1029/2020GL091835


The Southern Ocean plays an important role in the uptake of atmospheric CO2. In seasonally ice-covered regions, estimates of air-sea exchange remain uncertain in part because of a lack of observations outside the summer season. Here we present new estimates of air-sea CO2 flux in the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) from an autonomous mooring on the continental shelf. In summer, the WAP is a sink for atmospheric CO2 followed by a slow return to atmospheric equilibrium in autumn and winter. Outgassing is almost entirely suppressed by ice cover from June through October, resulting in a modest net annual CO2 sink. Model projections indicate sea ice formation will occur later in the season in the coming decades potentially weakening the net oceanic CO2 sink. Interannual variability in the WAP is significant, highlighting the importance of sustained observations of air-sea exchange in this rapidly changing region of the Southern Ocean.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southern Ocean, sea ice, CO2, carbon sink
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Chemical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Antarctic and Southern Ocean ice dynamics
UTAS Author:Shadwick, EH (Dr Elizabeth Shadwick)
ID Code:150359
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Australian Antarctic Program Partnership
Deposited On:2022-06-09
Last Modified:2022-08-24
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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