National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2014

Calcium carbonate dissolution in the upper 1000 m of the eastern North Atlantic

Barrett, P.M., J.A. Resing, N.J. Buck, R.A. Feely, J.L. Bullister, C.S. Buck, W.M. Landing, and C.I. Measures

Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 28(4), 386–397, doi: 10.1002/2013GB004619 (2014)

Recent analyses suggest that considerable CaCO3 dissolution may occur in the upper water column of the ocean (< 1500 m). This study uses the distribution of particulate calcium from high-resolution suspended matter sampling along the Climate Variability and Predictability/CO2 Repeat Hydrography A16N transect in 2003 to estimate CaCO3 dissolution in the top 1000 m of the North Atlantic. Dissolution rates were also approximated using changes in total alkalinity measurements along isopycnal surfaces. Water masses were found to be undersaturated with respect to aragonite at intermediate depths (400–1000 m) in the eastern tropical North Atlantic. The CaCO3 dissolution rate in this region is estimated to be 0.9 mmol CaCO3 m−2 d−1, indicating this region is a hotspot for upper water column CaCO3 dissolution compared to the Atlantic basin as a whole. Dissolution rates calculated from particulate calcium distributions outside of this region were significantly lower (0.2 mmol CaCO3 m−2 d−1) and are comparable to previous estimates of CaCO3 dissolution flux for the Atlantic Ocean. The magnitude of upper water column dissolution rates compared to measured surface ocean CaCO3 standing stocks suggests that biologically mediated CaCO3 dissolution may be occurring in the top 1000 m of the Atlantic.

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