Virginia Institute of Marine Science
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS
We calculate net community production (NCP) during summer 2005-2006 and spring 2006 in the Ross Sea using multiple approaches to determine the magnitude and consistency of rates. Water column carbon and nutrient inventories and surface ocean O-2/Ar data are compared to satellite-derived primary productivity (PP) estimates and C-14 uptake experiments. In spring, NCP was related to stratification proximal to upper ocean fronts. In summer, the most intense C drawdown was in shallow mixed layers affected by ice melt; depth-integrated C drawdown, however, increased with mixing depth. Delta O-2/Ar-based methods, relying on gas exchange reconstructions, underestimate NCP due to seasonal variations in surface Delta O-2/Ar and NCP rates. Mixed layer Delta O-2/Ar requires approximately 60 days to reach steady state, starting from early spring. Additionally, cold temperatures prolong the sensitivity of gas exchange reconstructions to past NCP variability. Complex vertical structure, in addition to the seasonal cycle, affects interpretations of surface-based observations, including those made from satellites. During both spring and summer, substantial fractions of NCP were below the mixed layer. Satellite-derived estimates tended to overestimate PP relative to C-14-based estimates, most severely in locations of stronger upper water column stratification. Biases notwithstanding, NCP-PP comparisons indicated that community respiration was of similar magnitude to NCP. We observed that a substantial portion of NCP remained as suspended particulate matter in the upper water column, demonstrating a lag between production and export. Resolving the dynamic physical processes that structure variance in NCP and its fate will enhance the understanding of the carbon cycling in highly productive Antarctic environments.
Long, Matthew C.; Dunbar, Robert B.; Tortell, Philippe D.; Smith, Walker O. Jr.; Mucciarone, David A.; and DiTullio, Giacomo R., "Vertical structure, seasonal drawdown, and net community production in the Ross Sea, Antarctica" (2011). VIMS Articles. 266.