Oceans and seas

Buffer factor

October 28, 2011, 10:56 am
This article is written at a definitional level only. Authors wishing to improve this entry are inivited to expand the present treatment, which additions will be peer reviewed prior to publication of any expansion.

The buffer factor is the instantaeous fractional change in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) divided by the fractional change in oceanic Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC) after equilibrium has been reached. This factor characterizes the fraction of the CO2 flux from the atmosphere to the mixed layer that will react to form carbonate and bicarbonate ions. This ratio is also known as the Revelle factor.  A slightly different wording of the definition is: The ratio of the instantaneous fractional change in the partial pressure of CO2 exerted by seawater to the fractional change in total CO2 dissolved in the ocean waters.

Further Reading:

  • Physical Oceanography Index
  • Raymond G. Najjar. Marine biogeochemistry. In K. E. Trenberth, editor, Climate System Modeling, pages 241-280. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991.


(2011). Buffer factor. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150806


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