Partitioning of CO2 between atmosphere and ocean

Section Under Construction

How does the presence of a liquid ocean affect the composition of a planet's atmosphere? In this section, we'll consider the storage of a substance such as the carbon in atmospheric CO2 in the liquid ocean, neglecting any geochemical processes such as seafloor weathering which could remove dissolved components from the liquid and put them in long-term storage as solids in the oceanic crust. The primary example we have in mind is exchange of CO2 between atmospheres and a water ocean, but some of the lessons apply more generally, though the general nature of ocean chemistry for oceans made of liquids other than water is at present essentially unexplored.

Within the general scenario outlined above, the oceanic storage doesn't affect the atmosphere when the system is in equilibrium. In equilibrium, the amount of atmospheric gas entering the ocean equals the amount leaving, since -by definition- the oceanic reservoir is not changing when the system is in equilibrium. For atmospheric CO2 concentration in equilibrium, for example, the ocean is just a pass-through reservoir, and in the traditional picture the atmospheric CO2 concentration can be determined by silicate weathering on land without reference to how much of the planet's net carbon pool resides in the ocean water.

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