On the Role of the Arctic Sea Ice in Seasonal Variability of Carbon Dioxide Concentration in Northern Latitudes

A. P. Nagurnyi

For the first time, based on direct observations of carbon dioxide concentration at modern Russian drifting stations, the role of the Arctic sea ice in maximum seasonal changes in carbon dioxide distribution is considered. Carbon dioxide is generated during growth of ice mass at the sea ice undersurface and is absorbed at the surface of melting sea ice. The time of ice growth is three or four times greater than that of its melting in summer months, and, as result, the time of carbon dioxide generation is longer that that of its uptake. Consequently, the Arctic Ocean is a source of carbon dioxide on the mean annual scale (the effect of Arctic “breathing”). Experiments in a freezing chamber confirm these conclusions.

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