Agreement of CMIP5 Simulated and Observed Ocean Anthropogenic CO2 Uptake

Benjamin Bronselaer, Michael Winton, Joellen Russell, Christopher L. Sabine, Samar Khatiwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Previous studies found large biases between individual observational and model estimates of historical ocean anthropogenic carbon uptake. We show that the largest bias between the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) ensemble mean and between two observational estimates of ocean anthropogenic carbon is due to a difference in start date. After adjusting the CMIP5 and observational estimates to the 1791–1995 period, all three carbon uptake estimates agree to within 3 Pg of C, about 4% of the total. The CMIP5 ensemble mean spatial bias compared to the observations is generally smaller than the observational error, apart from a negative bias in the Southern Ocean and a positive bias in the Southern Indian and Pacific Oceans compensating each other in the global mean. This dipole pattern is likely due to an equatorward and weak bias in the position of Southern Hemisphere westerlies and lack of mode and intermediate water ventilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12,298-12,305
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 28 2017


  • CMIP5
  • anthropogenic carbon
  • impulse response function
  • observations
  • ocean carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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