Organic carbon flux and remineralization in surface sediments from the northern North Atlantic derived from pore-water oxygen microprofiles

Sauter, Eberhard, Schlüter, Michael and Suess, Erwin (2001) Organic carbon flux and remineralization in surface sediments from the northern North Atlantic derived from pore-water oxygen microprofiles Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 48 (2). pp. 529-553. DOI 10.1016/S0967-0637(00)00061-3.

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Organic carbon fluxes through the sediment/water interface in the high-latitude North Atlantic were calculated from oxygen microprofiles. A wire-operated in situ oxygen bottom profiler was deployed, and oxygen profiles were also measured onboard (ex situ). Diffusive oxygen fluxes, obtained by fitting exponential functions to the oxygen profiles, were translated into organic carbon fluxes and organic carbon degradation rates. The mean Corg input to the abyssal plain sediments of the Norwegian and Greenland Seas was found to be 1.9 mg C m−2 d−1. Typical values at the seasonally ice-covered East Greenland continental margin are between 1.3 and 10.9 mg C m−2 d−1 (mean 3.7 mg C m−2 d−1), whereas fluxes on the East Greenland shelf are considerably higher, 9.1–22.5 mg C m−2 d−1. On the Norwegian continental slope Corg fluxes of 3.3–13.9 mg C m−2 d−1 (mean 6.5 mg C m−2 d−1) were found. Fluxes are considerably higher here compared to stations on the East Greenland slope at similar water depths. By repeated occupation of three sites off southern Norway in 1997 the temporal variability of diffusive O2 fluxes was found to be quite low. The seasonal signal of primary and export production from the upper water column appears to be strongly damped at the seafloor. Degradation rates of 0.004–1.1 mg C cm−3 a−1 at the sediment surface were calculated from the oxygen profiles. First-order degradation constants, obtained from Corg degradation rates and sediment organic carbon content, are in the range 0.03–0.6 a−1. Thus, the corresponding mean lifetime of organic carbon lies between 1.7 and 33.2 years, which also suggests that seasonal variations in Corg flux are small. The data presented here characterize the Norwegian and Greenland Seas as oligotrophic and relatively low organic carbon deep-sea environments.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Diffusive oxygen uptake; Benthic fluxes; Organic carbon; In situ oxygen microelectrodes; North Atlantic; High latitudes
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/S0967-0637(00)00061-3
ISSN: 0967-0637
Projects: SFB313
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:25
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2017 07:57

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