Mixed layer saturations of CFC-11, CFC-12, and SF6 in a global isopycnal model



[1] The use of CFC-11, CFC-12, and SF6 to quantify oceanic ventilation rates, interior water age, and formation rates requires knowledge of the saturation levels at the sea surface. While their atmospheric histories are relatively well known, physical processes in the mixed layer in conjunction with limited air-sea gas exchange can cause surface concentrations to be in disequilibrium with the atmosphere. We use an offline tracer advection-diffusion code that evolves tracers using along-isopycnal and cross-isopycnal mass fluxes from a global, climatological run of the Hallberg Isopycnal Model to reconstruct the saturation level of all three tracers over the entirety of their atmospheric histories. Disequilibria on a global scale occur in regions associated with deep winter mixed layers and are found throughout the time period of the release of these chemicals into the atmosphere. Sensitivity studies using targeted model simulations, focusing on the North Pacific, show that seasonal cycles in temperature and salinity that affect gas solubility as well as entrainment of water containing low concentration of tracers during mixed layer deepening are the dominant causes of undersaturation. When using the transit time distribution method, our results show that these undersaturations introduce a significant bias toward older ages for North Pacific Central Mode Water but do not significantly affect estimates of anthropogenic carbon inventory.