Changes in the Arctic Ocean Carbon Cycle With Diminishing Ice Cover

Michael DeGrandpre, Wiley Evans, Mary Louise Timmermans, Richard Krishfield, Bill Williams, Michael Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Less than three decades ago only a small fraction of the Arctic Ocean (AO) was ice free and then only for short periods. The ice cover kept sea surface pCO2 at levels lower relative to other ocean basins that have been exposed year round to ever increasing atmospheric levels. In this study, we evaluate sea surface pCO2 measurements collected over a 6-year period along a fixed cruise track in the Canada Basin. The measurements show that mean pCO2 levels are significantly higher during low ice years. The pCO2 increase is likely driven by ocean surface heating and uptake of atmospheric CO2 with large interannual variability in the contributions of these processes. These findings suggest that increased ice-free periods will further increase sea surface pCO2, reducing the Canada Basin's current role as a net sink of atmospheric CO2.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL088051
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 28 2020


  • Arctic Ocean
  • Canada Basin
  • ice concentration
  • interannual variability
  • seawater CO
  • shipboard CO measurements


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