Can rates of ocean primary production and biological carbon export be related through their probability distributions?
MetadataShow full item record
KeywordPrimary production; Carbon export; Export flux; Lognormal distribution; Scaling relationship; Carbon cycle
We describe the basis of a theory for interpreting measurements of two key biogeochemical fluxes—primary production by phytoplankton (p, μg C · L−1 · day−1) and biological carbon export from the surface ocean by sinking particles (f, mg C · m−2 · day−1)—in terms of their probability distributions. Given that p and f are mechanistically linked but variable and effectively measured on different scales, we hypothesize that a quantitative relationship emerges between collections of the two measurements. Motivated by the many subprocesses driving production and export, we take as a null model that large‐scale distributions of p and f are lognormal. We then show that compilations of p and f measurements are consistent with this hypothesis. The compilation of p measurements is extensive enough to subregion by biome, basin, depth, or season; these subsets are also well described by lognormals, whose log‐moments sort predictably. Informed by the lognormality of both p and f we infer a statistical scaling relationship between the two quantities and derive a linear relationship between the log‐moments of their distributions. We find agreement between two independent estimates of the slope and intercept of this line and show that the distribution of f measurements is consistent with predictions made from the moments of the p distribution. These results illustrate the utility of a distributional approach to biogeochemical fluxes. We close by describing potential uses and challenges for the further development of such an approach.
© The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles 32 (2018): 954-970, doi:10.1029/2017GB005797.
Suggested CitationArticle: Cael, B. Barry, Bisson, Kelsey, Follett, Christopher L., "Can rates of ocean primary production and biological carbon export be related through their probability distributions?", Global Biogeochemical Cycles 32 (2018): 954-970, DOI:10.1029/2017GB005797, https://hdl.handle.net/1912/10502
The following license files are associated with this item:
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Biological production, export efficiency, and phytoplankton communities across 8000 km of the South Atlantic Howard, Evan M.; Durkin, Colleen A.; Hennon, Gwenn; ribalet, francois; Stanley, Rachel H. R. (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-07-11)In situ oxygen tracers (triple oxygen isotope and oxygen/argon ratios) were used to evaluate meridional trends in surface biological production and export efficiency across ~8000 km of the tropical and subtropical South ...
Export production and its regulating factors in the West Antarctica Peninsula region of the Southern Ocean Huang, Kuan; Ducklow, Hugh W.; Vernet, Maria; Cassar, Nicolas; Bender, Michael L. (American Geophysical Union, 2012-04-24)In connection with the Palmer LTER program, mixed layer water samples were collected during the cruise of the L.M. Gould in Jan., 2008 at 49 stations on a 20 × 100 km grid in the West Antarctica Peninsula (WAP) region of ...
Theoretical considerations on factors confounding the interpretation of the oceanic carbon export ratio Li, Zuchuan; Cassar, Nicolas (American Geophysical Union, 2018-10-13)The fraction of primary production exported out of the surface ocean, known as the export ratio (ef ratio), is often used to assess how various factors, including temperature, primary production, phytoplankton size, and ...