Do hurricanes cause significant interannual variability in the air-sea CO2 flux of the subtropical North Atlantic?
Article first published online: 10 APR 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 36, Issue 7, April 2009
How to Cite
2009), Do hurricanes cause significant interannual variability in the air-sea CO2 flux of the subtropical North Atlantic? Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L07606, doi:10.1029/2009GL037553., , , and (
- Issue published online: 10 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 10 APR 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 MAR 2009
- Manuscript Received: 30 JAN 2009
- air-sea flux
 Observations at Bermuda and in the Caribbean Sea indicate that hurricanes influence surface ocean pCO2 (pCO2ocean) and air-sea CO2 fluxes at short time scales. We use a regional version of the MIT ocean general circulation model to study impacts on interannual variability in air-sea CO2 fluxes in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre (25–40N). Consistent with observations, enhanced wind speeds dominate the hurricane's effect on the flux, driving CO2 out of the ocean due to the negative air-sea gradient in pCO2 (pCO2atm < pCO2ocean) that occurs in response to warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) during hurricane season. With a storm, vertical mixing causes negative SST anomalies that depress pCO2ocean, but not enough to reverse the gradient. Though hurricanes drive a substantial local CO2 efflux, we find no evidence for a relationship between year-to-year variability in hurricane frequency and variability in basin-integrated air-sea CO2 fluxes across the subtropical North Atlantic.