Particle export from the upper ocean over the continental shelf of the west Antarctic Peninsula: A long-term record, 1992–2007

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Ducklow, Hugh W.
Erickson, Matthew
Kelly, Joann
Montes-Hugo, Martin
Ribic, Christine A.
Smith, Raymond C.
Stammerjohn, Sharon E.
Karl, David M.
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We report on results of a long-term (1993-2007) time series sediment trap moored at 170 m to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula in the mid-continental shelf region (350 m depth; 64º30’ S, 66º00’ W). This is a region characterized by late spring-summer diatom blooms, moderately high seasonal primary productivity (50-150 mmol C m-2 d-1 in December-February) and high phytoplankton and krill biomass in the seasonal sea ice zone. The mass flux ranged from near 0 to over 1 g m-2 d-1 and was near 0 to >30% organic carbon (mean 8%). Sedimentation from the upper ocean as estimated by the trap collections at 170 m exhibited strong seasonality with high fluxes (1-10 mmol C m-2 d-1) in November-March following ice retreat and very low fluxes (<0.001 mmol C m-2 d-1) during the Austral winter and under sea ice cover. An average of 85% of the annual export of 212 mmol C m-2 occurred during the seasonal peak flux episodes. Over the trap record, the annual peak flux episode has tended to occur later in the Austral summer, advancing by about 40 days since 1993. The time-integrated sedimentation during the peak flux episode was <1 – 50% of the SeaWiFS-estimated primary production (mean 4%) at the trap site over the period 1998-2006. The elemental composition of material captured in the traps had an average C:N:P of 212:28:1, greater than the canonical Redfield values. High C:P ratios (400- 600) corresponded with the annual flux peak, indicating preferential loss of P from the sinking particles in the summer, ice-free period. The composition of the exported material more closely approximated the Redfield composition during the low-flux, winter period.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2008. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 55 (2008): 2118-2131, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2008.04.028.
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