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Episodic organic carbon fluxes from surface ocean to abyssal depths during long-term monitoring in NE Pacific

TitleEpisodic organic carbon fluxes from surface ocean to abyssal depths during long-term monitoring in NE Pacific
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSmith KL, Ruhl H.A, Huffard C.L, Messie M., Kahru M
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume115
Pagination12235-12240
Date Published2018/11
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0027-8424
Accession NumberWOS:000451351000062
Keywordsabyssal community; attenuation; carbon budget; carbon flux; climate; eastern north pacific; efficiency; export; particle-flux; particulate matter; Science & Technology - Other Topics; sinking; time-series; variability
Abstract

Growing evidence suggests substantial quantities of particulate organic carbon (POC) produced in surface waters reach abyssal depths within days during episodic flux events. A 29-year record of in situ observations was used to examine episodic peaks in POC fluxes and sediment community oxygen consumption (SCOC) at Station M (NE Pacific, 4,000-m depth). From 1989 to 2017, 19% of POC flux at 3,400 m arrived during high-magnitude episodic events (>= mean + 2 sigma), and 43% from 2011 to 2017. From 2011 to 2017, when high-resolution SCOC data were available, time lags between changes in satellite-estimated export flux (EF), POC flux, and SCOC on the sea floor varied between six flux events from 0 to 70 days, suggesting variable remineralization rates and/or particle sinking speeds. Half of POC flux pulse events correlated with prior increases in EF and/or subsequent SCOC increases. Peaks in EF overlying Station M frequently translated to changes in POC flux at abyssal depths. A power-law model (Martin curve) was used to estimate abyssal fluxes from EF and midwater temperature variation. While the background POC flux at 3,400-m depth was described well by the model, the episodic events were significantly underestimated by similar to 80% and total flux by almost 50%. Quantifying episodic pulses of organic carbon into the deep sea is critical in modeling the depth and intensity of POC sequestration and understanding the global carbon cycle.

DOI10.1073/pnas.1814559115
Student Publication: 
No
Research Topics: 
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