Trend analysis of the airborne fraction and sink rate of anthropogenically released CO2
Is the fraction of anthropogenically released CO2 that remains in the atmosphere (the airborne fraction) increasing? Is the rate at which the ocean and land sinks take up CO2 from the atmosphere decreasing? We analyse these questions by means of a statistical dynamic multivariate model from which we estimate the unobserved trend processes together with the parameters that govern them. We show how the concept of a global carbon budget can be used to obtain two separate data series measuring the same physical object of interest, such as the airborne fraction. Incorporating these additional data into the dynamic multivariate model increases the number of available observations, thus improving the reliability of trend and parameter estimates. We find no statistical evidence of an increasing airborne fraction, but we do find statistical evidence of a decreasing sink rate. We infer that the efficiency of the sinks in absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere is decreasing at approximately 0.54 % yr−1.