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Keywords:

  • ocean carbon cycle;
  • climate change and variability;
  • ocean carbon uptake;
  • ocean circulation changes

[1] The impact of variations of the Walker cell on the ocean carbon cycle is assessed using a coupled climate model. Idealized wind perturbations are investigated, with the trade winds increased/decreased by 10%, 20%, and 30%. A global-mean reduction in oceanic carbon storage is found for increased equatorial easterlies, while moderately decreased trade winds give increased uptake. There is a nonlinear response to weakened tropical winds due to Pacific Ocean biological pump changes; with reduced nutrient upwelling resulting in decreased biological activity and remineralization in the deep ocean. This partially offsets the increased carbon uptake due to weaker trade winds. The overall change in net carbon storage reaches −26.2 PgC (12 ppm) in the 30% increase case and 4.2 PgC (−2 ppm) in the 20% decrease cases. Regional dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) changes reach −3.3 mmol m−3 (2.1 mmol m−3) in the 10% decrease (increase) case. Gradually increasing wind perturbations give a similar pattern of DIC response to the full equilibrated solution.