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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 7
Clim. Past, 11, 991–1007, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-11-991-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Clim. Past, 11, 991–1007, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-11-991-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 29 Jul 2015

Research article | 29 Jul 2015

Scaling laws for perturbations in the ocean–atmosphere system following large CO2 emissions

N. Towles, P. Olson, and A. Gnanadesikan N. Towles et al.
  • Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

Abstract. Scaling relationships are found for perturbations to atmosphere and ocean variables from large transient CO2 emissions. Using the Long-term Ocean-atmosphere-Sediment CArbon cycle Reservoir (LOSCAR) model (Zeebe et al., 2009; Zeebe, 2012b), we calculate perturbations to atmosphere temperature, total carbon, ocean temperature, total ocean carbon, pH, alkalinity, marine-sediment carbon, and carbon-13 isotope anomalies in the ocean and atmosphere resulting from idealized CO2 emission events. The peak perturbations in the atmosphere and ocean variables are then fit to power law functions of the form of γ DαEβ, where D is the event duration, E is its total carbon emission, and γ is a coefficient. Good power law fits are obtained for most system variables for E up to 50 000 PgC and D up to 100 kyr. Although all of the peak perturbations increase with emission rate E/D, we find no evidence of emission-rate-only scaling, α + β = 0. Instead, our scaling yields α + β ≃ 1 for total ocean and atmosphere carbon and 0 < α + β < 1 for most of the other system variables.

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In this paper we find scaling relationships for perturbations to atmosphere and ocean variables from large transient CO2 emissions. We use a carbon cycle box model to calculate peak perturbations to a variety of ocean and atmosphere variables resulting from idealized emission events. As these scaling relationships depend on the physical setup, they represent a compact way of characterizing how different climates respond to large transient perturbations.
In this paper we find scaling relationships for perturbations to atmosphere and ocean variables...
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