71% of the earth’s surface is covered by water and large areas of the land are covered by frozen water. Water and water vapour are also significant components of the atmosphere.
The atmosphere and its trace component of carbon dioxide is a very thin skin in close contact with the surface of all of this water. Carbon dioxide is very soluble in water and Henry’s Law says that as the temperature of water changes the quantity of carbon dioxide dissolved in that water will change.
Thus if the sea surface temperature increases, carbon dioxide will be expelled to the atmosphere just like carbon dioxide bubbles are expelled from a warming beer. And as sea surface temperature falls, carbon dioxide will dissolve in the cooling water and this reduces the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Continue reading “Carbon Dioxide and the Oceans – temperature controls carbon dioxide, not the reverse.”