Annual nitrate drawdown observed by SOCCOM profiling floats and the relationship to annual net community production

TitleAnnual nitrate drawdown observed by SOCCOM profiling floats and the relationship to annual net community production
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsJohnson K.S, Plant J.N, Dunne J.P, Talley LD, Sarmiento J.L
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Oceans
Date Published2017/08
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2169-9275
Accession NumberWOS:000410790600036
Keywordsdissolved inorganic carbon; euphotic zone; export; global ocean; observations; oxygen sensors; pacific subtropical gyre; production; sargasso sea; sea-surface temperature; southern-ocean; time-series

Annual nitrate cycles have been measured throughout the pelagic waters of the Southern Ocean, including regions with seasonal ice cover and southern hemisphere subtropical zones. Vertically resolved nitrate measurements were made using in situ ultraviolet spectrophotometer (ISUS) and submersible ultraviolet nitrate analyzer (SUNA) optical nitrate sensors deployed on profiling floats. Thirty-one floats returned 40 complete annual cycles. The mean nitrate profile from the month with the highest winter nitrate minus the mean profile from the month with the lowest nitrate yields the annual nitrate drawdown. This quantity was integrated to 200 m depth and converted to carbon using the Redfield ratio to estimate annual net community production (ANCP) throughout the Southern Ocean south of 30 degrees S. A well-defined, zonal mean distribution is found with highest values (3-4 mol C m(-2) yr(-1)) from 40 to 50 degrees S. Lowest values are found in the subtropics and in the seasonal ice zone. The area weighted mean was 2.9 mol C m(-2) yr(-1) for all regions south of 40 degrees S. Cumulative ANCP south of 50 degrees S is 1.3 Pg C yr(-1). This represents about 13% of global ANCP in about 14% of the global ocean area. Plain Language Summary This manuscript reports on 40 annual cycles of nitrate observed by chemical sensors on SOCCOM profiling floats. The annual drawdown in nitrate concentration by phytoplankton is used to assess the spatial variability of annual net community production in the Southern Ocean. This ANCP is a key component of the global carbon cycle and it exerts an important control on atmospheric carbon dioxide. We show that the results are consistent with our prior understanding of Southern Ocean ANCP, which has required decades of observations to accumulate. The profiling floats now enable annual resolution of this key process. The results also highlight spatial variability in ANCP in the Southern Ocean.

Short TitleJ Geophys Res-Oceans
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