National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2011

Temporal and spatial dynamics of CO2 air-sea flux in the Gulf of Maine

Vandemark, D., J.E. Salisbury, C.W. Hunt, S.M. Shellito, J.D. Irish, W.R. McGillis, C.L. Sabine, and S.M. Maenner

J. Geophys. Res., 116, C01012, doi: 10.1029/2010JC006408 (2011)

Ocean surface layer carbon dioxide (CO2) data collected in the Gulf of Maine from 2004 to 2008 are presented. Monthly shipboard observations are combined with additional higher-resolution CO2 observations to characterize CO2 fugacity (fCO2) and CO2 flux over hourly to interannual time scales. Observed fCO2 and CO2 flux dynamics are dominated by a seasonal cycle, with a large spring influx of CO2 and a fall-to-winter efflux back to the atmosphere. The temporal results at inner, middle, and outer shelf locations are highly correlated, and observed spatial variability is generally small relative to the monthly to seasonal temporal changes. The averaged annual flux is in near balance and is a net source of carbon to the atmosphere over 5 years, with a value of +0.38 mol m−2 yr−1. However, moderate interannual variation is also observed, where years 2005 and 2007 represent cases of regional source (+0.71) and sink (−0.11) anomalies. We use moored daily CO2 measurements to quantify aliasing due to temporal undersampling, an important error budget term that is typically unresolved. The uncertainty of our derived annual flux measurement is ±0.26 mol m−2 yr−1 and is dominated by this aliasing term. Comparison of results to the neighboring Middle and South Atlantic Bight coastal shelf systems indicates that the Gulf of Maine exhibits a similar annual cycle and range of oceanic fCO2 magnitude but differs in the seasonal phase. It also differs by enhanced fCO2 controls by factors other than temperature-driven solubility, including biological drawdown, fall-to-winter vertical mixing, and river runoff.

Feature Publications | Outstanding Scientific Publications

Contact Sandra Bigley |