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2018
Gray, AR, Johnson KS, Bushinsky SM, Riser SC, Russell JL, Talley LD, Wanninkhof R, Williams NL, Sarmiento JL.  2018.  Autonomous biogeochemical floats detect significant carbon dioxide outgassing in the high-latitude Southern Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters. 45:9049-9057.   10.1029/2018gl078013   AbstractWebsite

Although the Southern Ocean is thought to account for a significant portion of the contemporary oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2), flux estimates in this region are based on sparse observations that are strongly biased toward summer. Here we present new estimates of Southern Ocean air-sea CO2 fluxes calculated with measurements from biogeochemical profiling floats deployed by the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project during 2014-2017. Compared to ship-based CO2 flux estimates, the float-based fluxes find significantly stronger outgassing in the zone around Antarctica where carbon-rich deep waters upwell to the surface ocean. Although interannual variability contributes, this difference principally stems from the lack of autumn and winter ship-based observations in this high-latitude region. These results suggest that our current understanding of the distribution of oceanic CO2 sources and sinks may need revision and underscore the need for sustained year-round biogeochemical observations in the Southern Ocean. Plain Language Summary The Southern Ocean absorbs a great deal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helps to shape the climate of Earth. However, we do not have many observations from this part of the world, especially in winter, because it is remote and inhospitable. Here we present new observations from robotic drifting buoys that take measurements of temperature, salinity, and other water properties year-round. We use these data to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the Southern Ocean. In the open water region close to Antarctica, the new estimates are remarkably different from the previous estimates, which were based on data collected from ships. We discuss some possible reasons that the float-based estimate is different and how this changes our understanding of how the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide.

Briggs, EM, Martz TR, Talley LD, Mazloff MR, Johnson KS.  2018.  Physical and biological drivers of biogeochemical tracers within the seasonal sea ice zone of the Southern Ocean from profiling floats. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 123:746-758.   10.1002/2017jc012846   AbstractWebsite

Here we present initial findings from nine profiling floats equipped with pH, O-2, , and other biogeochemical sensors that were deployed in the seasonal ice zone (SIZ) of the Southern Ocean in 2014 and 2015 through the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling (SOCCOM) project. A large springtime phytoplankton bloom was observed that coincided with sea ice melt for all nine floats. We argue this bloom results from a shoaling of the mixed layer depth, increased vertical stability, and enhanced nutrient and light availability as the sea ice melts. This interpretation is supported by the absence of a springtime bloom when one of the floats left the SIZ in the second year of observations. During the sea ice covered period, net heterotrophic conditions were observed. The rate of uptake of O-2 and release of dissolved inorganic carbon (derived from pH and estimated total alkalinity) and is reminiscent of biological respiration and is nearly Redfieldian for the nine floats. A simple model of mixed layer physics was developed to separate the physical and biological components of the signal in pH and O-2 over one annual cycle for a float in the Ross Sea SIZ. The resulting annual net community production suggests that seasonal respiration during the ice covered period of the year nearly balances the production in the euphotic layer of up to 5 molCm(-2) during the ice free period leading to a net of near zero carbon exported to depth for this one float.