Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Longinelli A., Lenaz R., Ori C., Langone L., Selmo E., Giglio F. Decadal changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration and delta C-13 over two seas and two oceans: Italy to New Zealand. In: Atmospheric Environment, vol. 44 (34) pp. 4303 - 4311. PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, THE BOULEVARD, LANGFORD LANE, KIDLINGTON, OXFORD OX5 1GB, ENGLAND, 2010.
Continuous measurements of the CO2 concentration were repeatedly carried out from 1996 to 2007 between Italy and New Zealand by means of a Siemens Ultramat 5E analyzer assembled for shipboard use. Along the ship routes discrete air samples were collected from 1998 to 2005 using four-litre Pyrex flasks. The δ13C of the CO2 from the flask air samples was measured according to well-established techniques. The decadal changes of these two variables can now be evaluated from these results. Large variations of the CO2 concentration were normally recorded in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Completely different trends of the CO2 concentration were observed in the Red Sea (30° N to about 13° N) between 2007 (a marked southward decrease) and 2005 and 2003 when a marked southward increase is apparent, at least between 23° and 13° N. A further difference among different expeditions is related to the decrease or increase of the CO2 concentration in the Gulf of Aden. The backward trajectories of the air masses help to explain, at least partially, these differences. In the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean a decrease of a few ppmv of the CO2 concentration takes place from Cape Guardafui (Northern Somaliland) to southern New Zealand, particularly during 2005 and 2007. The yearly rate of increase of the CO2 concentration between 1996 and 2007 for the Indian Ocean is of about 1.9 ppmv yr−1, in excellent agreement with the NOAA/CMDL measurements carried out during the same period at Mahé Isld. (Indian Ocean) and Cape Grim (Tasmania). The δ13C results obtained from the CO2 of flask samples collected in the Mediterranean show the effect of anthropogenic emissions, though this is considerably smaller than expected. This inconsistency may be related to the large terrestrial biospheric sink of CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere. The results obtained from the Red Sea are quite variable through time and space, particularly in its southern section; their interpretation is not easy. The Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean show rather homogeneous δ13C results even though a variable carbon isotope shift can be calculated from period/cruise to period/cruise. In the case of the Indian Ocean the mean δ13C value from the flask air samples collected in 2005 is −8.29‰ and the calculated rate of the carbon isotope shift between 1998 and 2005 is −0.034‰ yr−1, considerably larger than that calculated at the closest NOAA station (Mahé Isld.) of −0.026‰ yr−1. This discrepancy may be, at least partially, caused by the small number of measurements carried out at sea. However, the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean is less affected by anthropogenic emissions than in other areas.
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.05.038
Subject Atmospheric CO2 concentration
13C of atmospheric CO2
Red Sea
Indian Ocean
Southern Ocean

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