Decrease in the CO2 uptake capacity in an ice-free Arctic Ocean basin. Academic Article uri icon


  • It has been predicted that the Arctic Ocean will sequester much greater amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere as a result of sea ice melt and increasing primary productivity. However, this prediction was made on the basis of observations from either highly productive ocean margins or ice-covered basins before the recent major ice retreat. We report here a high-resolution survey of sea-surface CO2 concentration across the Canada Basin, showing a great increase relative to earlier observations. Rapid CO2 invasion from the atmosphere and low biological CO2 drawdown are the main causes for the higher CO2, which also acts as a barrier to further CO2 invasion. Contrary to the current view, we predict that the Arctic Ocean basin will not become a large atmospheric CO2 sink under ice-free conditions.

published proceedings

  • Science

altmetric score

  • 31.192

author list (cited authors)

  • Cai, W., Chen, L., Chen, B., Gao, Z., Lee, S. H., Chen, J., ... Zhang, H.

citation count

  • 190

complete list of authors

  • Cai, Wei-Jun||Chen, Liqi||Chen, Baoshan||Gao, Zhongyong||Lee, Sang H||Chen, Jianfang||Pierrot, Denis||Sullivan, Kevin||Wang, Yongchen||Hu, Xinping||Huang, Wei-Jen||Zhang, Yuanhui||Xu, Suqing||Murata, Akihiko||Grebmeier, Jacqueline M||Jones, E Peter||Zhang, Haisheng

publication date

  • July 2010