Rolf Sonnerup

Rolf E. Sonnerup

  • Research Scientist
  • Education:
    • PhD, Chemical Oceanography, University of Washington 1999
    • BA, Chemistry, Princeton University 1987
  • Email:
  • Phone:
    • 206-543-4024
  • Location:
    • UW Wallace Hall
  • My research focuses on the ocean’s carbon cycle and its response to climate change on decadal timescales. I specialize in the use of trace gas measurements to determine upper ocean circulation rates, thus providing estimates of the rate at which the ocean breathes atmospheric gases Applications include quantifying decadal changes in upper ocean circulation, the ocean and terrestrial biosphere’s uptake of fossil-fuel CO2 oceanic biological production.

    Current Research Projects

    A sulfur hexafluoride section in the North Pacific Ocean: Application of a dual tracer approach.  NSF 7/2008 to 6/2011

    Variability in water mass formation and ventilation rates in the southwester Pacific Ocean based on Repeat Hydrography CFC measurements. NSF 10/2007 to 9/2010

    Role of air-sea exchange and circulation in controlling the ocean’s distribution of anthropogenic CO2: carbon isotope constraints and GCM validation. NOAA 9/2008 to 8 2011

    Changing ventilation timescales and anthropogenic CO2 in the subtropical North Pacific based on repeated multiple transient tracer observations. NOAA 4/2008 to 3/2010

    Selected publications

    Sonnerup, R. E., J. L. Bullister, S. Mecking (2007) Circulation rate changes in the eastern subtropical North Pacific based on chlorofluorocarbon ages, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L08605, doi:10.1029/2006GL028813.

    Quay, P., R. Sonnerup, T. Westby, J. Stutsman and A. McNichol (2003) Changes in the 13C/12C of dissolved inorganic carbon in the ocean as a tracer of anthropogenic CO2 uptake, Global Biogeochemical Cycles 17, 1, 1004, doi: 10.1029/2001GB001817.

    Bullister, J. L., D. P. Wisegarver, and R. E. Sonnerup (2006) Sulfur Hexafluoride as a transient tracer in the North Pacific Ocean, Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L18603, doi: 10.1029/2006GL026514.

    Sonnerup, R. E. (2001) On the relations among CFC derived water mass ages, Geophysical Research Letters, 28, 9, 1739-1742.

    Sonnerup, R. E., P. D. Quay, A. P. McNichol, J. L. Bullister, T. A. Westby and H. L. Anderson (1999) Reconstructing the oceanic 13C Suess effect, Global Biogeochemical Cycles 13, 4, 857-873.

    Sonnerup, R. E, J. L. Bullister, and M. J. Warner, Improved estimates of ventilation rate changes and CO2 uptake in the Pacific Ocean using chlorofluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride (in press at Journal of Geophysical Research)