The Oceanic Biological Pump: Rapid carbon transfer to depth at Continental Margins during Winter


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autun.purser [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The oceanic biological pump is responsible for the important transfer of CO2-C as POC “Particulate Organic Carbon” to the deep sea. It plays a decisive role in the Earth’s carbon cycle and significant effort is spent to quantify its strength. In this study we used synchronized daily time-series data of surface chlorophyll-a concentrations from the NASA’s MODIS satellite in combination with hourly to daily observations from sea surface buoys and from an Internet Operated Vehicle (IOV) on the seafloor within Barkley Canyon (Northeast Pacific) to investigate the importance of winter processes in the export of fresh phytodetritus. The results indicate that phytoplankton pulses during winter can be as important in POC transfer to depth as the pulses associated with spring and summer blooms. Short winter phytoplankton pulses were observed to disappear from surface waters after low-pressure systems affected the area. Pulses of chlorophyll reached the IOV, at 870 m depth on the canyon seafloor, 12–72 hours later. These observed short pulses of biological carbon production regularly observed in the region from December to March have not been considered a significant component of the biological pump when compared with the denser summer productivity blooms.



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Peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
46624
DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-11075-6

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Thomsen, L. , Aguzzi, J. , Costa, C. , De Leo, F. , Ogston, A. and Purser, A. (2017): The Oceanic Biological Pump: Rapid carbon transfer to depth at Continental Margins during Winter , Scientific Reports, 7 (1) . doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11075-6


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