Sea surface pC02 and carbon export during the Labrador Sea spring-summer bloom: An in situ mass balance approach

Todd R. Martz, Michael D. DeGrandpre, Peter G. Strutton, Wade R. McGillis, William M. Drennan

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We report depth-resolved in situ time series of the partial pressure of C02 (pC02) and other carbon-related parameters spanning the development and decline of a high-latitude phytoplankton bloom. A suite of sensors was deployed on a mooring in the Labrador Sea from June to August 2004. The study became quasi-Lagrangian when the mooring broke free in late June. Measured parameters included pC02, chlorophyll a fluorescence, beam c, optical backscatter, and photosynthetically active radiation. During the bloom, thepC02 was drawn down from 330 to 260 juatm, corresponding to a 70 /xmol kg-1 decrease of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). One-dimensional model results suggest that the observed drawdown was primarily driven by local processes and contributions from horizontal advection were minimal. A mass balance using the DIC and particulate organic carbon found that 47 mmol C m-2 d-1 of DIC was assimilated into biomass. The bloom biomass was not remineralized in the mixed layer but was rapidly exported below 35 m within 15 days of the bloom. As a consequence, the large air-sea pC02 gradient persisted, and approximately 30% of the DIC was regained through air-sea exchange by the end of the study. It is likely that all of the exported organic matter, corresponding to 5.4 ± 1.9 Tg of carbon, was replaced by atmospheric C02 prior to the onset of deep convective mixing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberC09008
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2009


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