Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: A study of mean levels andair-sea fluxes over the Baltic Sea

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Luft-, vatten- och landskapslära

Abstract: The Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the atmosphere has increased dramatically since the start of the industrialisation. The effects that the increase of CO2 has on the future climate are still not fully investigated. CO2 in the atmosphere contributes to the, for all life on earth, necessary greenhouse effect. It is confirmed that higher CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increases the green house effect, which results in higher temperature. The main source to the increase of CO2 is burning of fossil fuels. The change in land use is also a contribution to the increase of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. The largest sinks of CO2 are organic consumption and oceanic uptake. The organic consumption of CO2 varies a lot at higher latitudes due to the difference in vegetation between the seasons. During the warmer seasons the consumption of CO2 is large and during the winters the consumptions of CO2 is practically zero. The ocean uptake of CO2 varies also a lot during the year because the CO2 dissolves more easily in cold water. The purpose of this study is to analyse CO2 concentration and air-sea fluxes of CO2 measured at Östergarnsholm, a small flat island east of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, and compare the results to previous studies. The CO2 concentration data was collected between 1997 – 1999 and 2001 – 2003. The CO2 flux data was collected between 2001 and 2003. The analysis of the CO2 concentration showed that for the period 1997 to 1999, the CO2 concentration at Östergarnsholm was lower than for the reference series from a Polish site in the Baltic Sea. A correction was made by adding 27 ppm to the Östergarnsholm series. The annual fluctuations of CO2 concentration at Östergarnsholm are significant (about 40 ppm). During the summer 1998, the expected decrease was not as large as it should be because of the El Niño outbreak 97/98 and the locally cold and rainy summer. The direct measured CO2 fluxes were corrected with the well known Webb correction before they were analysed. The CO2 fluxes are wind dependant – higher wind speed give higher CO2 flux. The CO2 fluxes are also dependant of the difference in partial pressure between the air and the water. Parameterised CO2fluxes were calculated and compared to the direct measured CO2 fluxes. The parameterisations use a quadratic as well as a cubic wind dependency. To calculate the parameterised CO2 fluxes, a fixed value of the difference in partial pressure between the air and the water was used because the CO2 in the water was not measured. The parameterised CO2 fluxes wind dependency agreed with the direct measured CO2 fluxes.

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