Modelling and regionalizing marine organic carbon fluxes with a Geographical Information System

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Schäfer, A. and Schlüter, M. (2001): Modelling and regionalizing marine organic carbon fluxes with a Geographical Information System , Abstracts - Challenges of a Changing Earth : Global Change Open Science Conference <10.-13.07.2001, Amsterdam, Netherlands> .
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By establishing a Geographical Information System (GIS) the spatial distribution of marine organic carbon fluxes was modelled. Oceanographic and biogeochemical data including satellite imagery of sea surface primary production, seafloor bathymetry and local flux studies were integrated (1) to model the spatial distribution of marine organic carbon fluxes, (2) to derive regional mass budgets and spatial distribution patterns and (3) to visualize and compare local processes and coherences. Empirical relationships between 2-dimensional data sets of primary production, water depth and local benthic flux data were derived on a regional scale. Within a GIS-environment and an adjunctive data base, fluxes were extrapolated according to these empirical relationships to derive basin-wide budgets of benthic organic carbon remineralization. In order to account for the high spatial variability within the marine organic carbon cycle separate mass balances were calculated and analysed for three regions of different oceanographic conditions and latitudes in the Atlantic Ocean. Two methods based on GIS techniques were developed to investigate the benthic-pelagic coupling of organic carbon fluxes: (1) spatial mass balances were evaluated by categorizing areas of water depth intervals in relation to local morphology. Within these depth intervals specific regional depth-dependent flux distributions were obtained by statistical evaluations of primary production, export ratio and benthic fluxes of organic carbon. (2) each region was divided into further sub-regions according to either marine biogeographical provinces or morphological structures such as basins, plateaus and slopes in order to study to what extend fluxes depend on local processes. By applying these two GIS-methods specific degradation and export processes could be revealed for each investigated sub-region. We will present methods for modelling categorical and continuous marine data sets to implement spatial analysis in marine flux studies for a better understanding of regional marine processes.

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