Settling of particles in the upper 100 m of the ocean detected with autonomous profiling floats off California

TitleSettling of particles in the upper 100 m of the ocean detected with autonomous profiling floats off California
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsJackson G.A, Checkley DM, Dagg M.
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I-Oceanographic Research Papers
Date Published2015/05
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0967-0637
Accession NumberWOS:000353008500007
KeywordsAggregates; fecal pellets; holoplankton; In situ settling velocities; in-situ; Marine snow; monterey bay; Particle flux; Particle settling; sargasso sea; sinking velocity; SOLOPC; time-series; Vertical flux; Zooplankton

We have deployed an autonomous profiling float, the SOLOPC, to sample the concentration of particles larger than 100 mu m off the California coast at approximately hourly intervals down to at least 100 m for periods as long as 12 d. We used the data to estimate total aggregate concentrations hourly at 2-m depth intervals, studying the dynamics of particle sedimentation in this difficult-to-sample region. We find that even over time scales of a week, sedimentation is highly variable, with detectable sedimentation events on about one quarter of the days. Most of these observations were along the southwest coast of the United States, a region known for its coastal upwelling and not necessarily representative of more oligotrophic regions. The aggregate settling rates that we estimate, on the order of 50 m d(-1), are consistent with in situ measurements and with rates calculated from coagulation models. The time interval between observations and their vertical resolution constrain the velocities that can be measured. To capture particle settling with velocities less than the 100 m d(-1) that is usually reported for near surface aggregates requires a sampling interval no more than about 0.25 d with a 2 m vertical resolution. This technique provides a powerful new tool to study the dynamics of particles and their sedimentation near the ocean surface, where export starts. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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