Lampitt Richard S.
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ArticleOpen ocean particle flux variability from surface to seafloor(American Geophysical Union, 2021-04-18) Cael, B. Barry ; Bisson, Kelsey ; Conte, Maureen H. ; Duret, Manon T. ; Follett, Christopher L. ; Henson, Stephanie A. ; Honda, Makio C. ; Iversen, Morten H. ; Karl, David M. ; Lampitt, Richard S. ; Mouw, Colleen B. ; Muller-Karger, Frank E. ; Pebody, Corinne ; Smith, Kenneth L., Jr. ; Talmy, DavidThe sinking of carbon fixed via net primary production (NPP) into the ocean interior is an important part of marine biogeochemical cycles. NPP measurements follow a log-normal probability distribution, meaning NPP variations can be simply described by two parameters despite NPP's complexity. By analyzing a global database of open ocean particle fluxes, we show that this log-normal probability distribution propagates into the variations of near-seafloor fluxes of particulate organic carbon (POC), calcium carbonate, and opal. Deep-sea particle fluxes at subtropical and temperate time-series sites follow the same log-normal probability distribution, strongly suggesting the log-normal description is robust and applies on multiple scales. This log-normality implies that 29% of the highest measurements are responsible for 71% of the total near-seafloor POC flux. We discuss possible causes for the dampening of variability from NPP to deep-sea POC flux, and present an updated relationship predicting POC flux from mineral flux and depth.
PreprintIntroduction to “Understanding the Ocean's biological pump : results from VERTIGO”( 2008-04-04) Buesseler, Ken O. ; Lampitt, Richard S.Unknown and unexplained aspects of the human condition were the focus of a television series in the USA created by Rod Serling in the early 1960s. The term “The Twilight Zone” used in his show is even more pertinent to the mysterious region between 100 and 1000m in the great oceans of the world, the “middle ground between light and shadow”. It is here where the sunlight at the ocean surface is finally extinguished and replaced by occasional flashes of biological light. This mesopelagic zone, as it is more formally called, is a region of immense change with depth and it is here that most of the biogenic material that settles out of the sunlit or euphotic zone is broken down and returned to the dissolved state. The gravitational downward flux of particles thus decreases with depth in general, and the animals that traverse this great depth, some each and every day, exert a powerful influence on the distribution of many types of materials. The extent of mixing also declines dramatically with depth, such that the water at 1000m is isolated from the atmosphere for many decades to centuries, and this has great significance when considering the influence of the oceans on the overlying atmosphere.