Although salt rejection from sea ice is a key process in deep-water formation in ice-covered seas, the concurrent rejection of CO2 and the subsequent effect on air–sea CO2 exchange have received little attention. We review the mechanisms by which sea ice directly and indirectly controls the air–sea CO2 exchange and use recent measurements of inorganic carbon compounds in bulk sea ice to estimate that oceanic CO2 uptake during the seasonal cycle of sea-ice growth and decay in ice-covered oceanic regions equals almost half of the net atmospheric CO2 uptake in ice-free polar seas. This sea-ice driven CO2 uptake has not been considered so far in estimates of global oceanic CO2 uptake. Net CO2 uptake in sea-ice–covered oceans can be driven by; (1) rejection during sea–ice formation and sinking of CO2-rich brine into intermediate and abyssal oceanic water masses, (2) blocking of air–sea CO2 exchange during winter, and (3) release of CO2-depleted melt water with excess total alkalinity during sea-ice decay and (4) biological CO2 drawdown during primary production in sea ice and surface oceanic waters.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES I (2009-2013) > TOPIC 1: The Changing Arctic and Antarctic > WP 1.3: A Bi-Polar Perspective of Sea Ice - Atmosphere - Ocean - Ecosystem Interactions