Heidelberg University

The oceanic carbon cycle in the climate system

Leif Anderson, University of Gothenburg


Anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide is the main cause of the present climate crisis. To assess the climate response to these emissions one needs to know the sources and sinks as well as feedbacks within the different global domains. In this course the focus is in the oceanic domain. The lectures will start with the basic chemistry of the inorganic carbon system and which processes that effect the concentrations of the different chemical species. The global ocean carbon cycle will be described, including the variable reservoirs and their turnover times. Following this, the focus will be on the anthropogenic fraction of the marine carbon cycle; what are the sources and sinks and how do the anthropogenic carbon impact the marine environment, e.g. ocean acidification? Further, examples of how a changing ocean feedback to the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration will be given.

Part 1: The marine carbon system and processes that effect it
Carbon system chemistry
Biochemical processes
Air-sea exchange

Part 2: The global carbon cycle
Reservoirs of carbon
Content and turnover times
The global ocean carbon cycle

Part 3: Anthropogenic carbon dioxide and the oceans
Impact of carbon dioxide on radiative forcing
Sources of C-anthro
Sinks of C-anthro

Part 4: Ocean acidification
Impact by C-anthro
Relation to natural variability
Impact on biota