Global data products help assess changes to ocean carbon sink



Net oceanic uptake of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) reduces global warming but also leads to ocean acidification [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2007]. Understanding and predicting changes in the ocean carbon sink are critical to assessments of future climate change. Surface water CO2 measurements suggest large year-to-year variations in oceanic CO2 uptake for several regions [Doney et al., 2009]. However, there is much debate on whether these changes are cyclical or indicative of long-term trends. Sustained, globally coordinated observations of the surface ocean carbon cycle and systematic handling of such data are essential for assessing variation and trends in regional and global ocean carbon uptake, information necessary for accurate estimates of global and national carbon budgets.