National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2002

Organic carbon remineralization in the Pacific Ocean

Feely, R.A., C.L. Sabine, J.L. Bullister, and D. Greeley

In Sixth International Symposium on the Geochemistry of the Earth's Surface (GES-6), Honolulu, HI, 20–24 May 2002, 226–228 (2002)

As a part of the U.S. JGOFS synthesis and modeling project, researchers have been working to synthesize the WOCE/JGOFS/DOE/NOAA global CO survey data to better understand carbon cycling processes in the oceans. Working with international investigators we have compiled a Pacific Ocean data set with over 35,000 unique sample locations analyzed for at least two carbon species, oxygen, nutrient, CFC tracers, and hydrographic parameters. These data are being used to determine the rates of in situ organic carbon remineralization within the water column of the Pacific Ocean. Organic carbon remineralization rates (ranging from about 1.0-11 µmol kg yr) are observed in the upper water masses from about 100-500 m. The rates are generally highest just below the euphotic zone and decrease with depth to values that are low and constant in the Circumpolar Deep Water. Within the North Pacific Intermediate Water (depth range: 400-800 m), organic carbon remineralization rates are more than 10 times higher than those observed in deepwater depths (average = 0.042 µmol kg yr) of the Pacific Ocean.

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