Methane production in the waters off Walvis Bay

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Scranton, Mary I.
Farrington, John W.
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Nine stations were occupied in the vicinity of Walvis Bay, Namibia, during a detailed study of the distribution of methane in this highly productive coastal environment. The principal features of the observed coastal methane distribution included ( I) excess methane in the mixed layer of from 2 times to greater than 300 times solubility equilibrium with the atmosphere, (2) a subsurface maximum, located in the top of the pycnocline, at which concentrations ranged from 2.6 to 440 times solubility equilibrium. (3) an intermediate depth minimum, where concentrations were comparable to those offshore at similar depths and which we attribute to the influence of onshore movement of subsurface offshore water, and (4) a bottom maximum, which we attribute to input of methane to the water column from the anoxic sediments in the Walvis Bay area. An attempt was made to identify the relative importance for methane supply to the coastal mixed layer of in situ biological production and of eddy diffusive and advective transport of methane-rich water which has been in contact with the bottom at the coast. Calculations suggest that both in situ production and physical processes are major sources of excess methane for the highly productive coastal surface waters. However, the complicated circulation patterns make quantification extremely difficult.
Also published as: Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 82, No. 31, October 20, 1977, pp. 4947-4953
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Scranton, M. I., & Farrington, J. W. (1978). Methane production in the waters off Walvis Bay. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
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