National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2016

Mass balance estimates of carbon export along flow paths of the Chukchi Sea shelf

Strong, A.L., K.E. Lowry, Z.W. Brown, M.M. Mills, G.L. van Dijken, R.S. Pickart, L.W. Cooper, K.E. Frey, R. Benner, C.G. Fichot, J.T. Mathis, N.R. Bates, and K.R. Arrigo

Deep-Sea Res. II, 130, 88–99, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.05.003 (2016)

We construct mass-balance based estimates of carbon (C) export fractions from the water column across the Chukchi Sea shelf. Export is calculated as the difference between phytoplankton drawdown of dissolved inorganic C (DIC) and the accumulation of autochthonous particulate and dissolved organic C in the water column. Organic carbon (Corg) exports of >50% of DIC drawdown are ubiquitous across the shelf, even during, or shortly after, phytoplankton blooms, suggesting widespread and strong pelagic-benthic coupling. Export fractions on the shelf were generally greater in the less-productive Alaska Coastal Water than in the more productive Bering Shelf-Anadyr Water. Additionally, export fractions were greater in 2011 than in 2010, highlighting the significant spatial and inter-annual variability of the fate of Corg in this ecologically and biogeochemically important, and rapidly changing, ecosystem.

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