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 CitationGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles 32 (2018): 954-970
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.
Climate-induced interannual variability of marine primary and export production in three global coupled climate carbon cycle models Schneider, B.; Bopp, Laurent; Gehlen, M.; Segschneider, J.; Frolicher, T. L.; Cadule, P.; Friedlingstein, Pierre; Doney, Scott C.; Behrenfeld, Michael J.; Joos, Fortunat (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2008-04-23)Fully coupled climate carbon cycle models are sophisticated tools that are used to predict future climate change and its impact on the land and ocean carbon cycles. These models should be able to adequately represent natural ...
Prediction of the export and fate of global ocean net primary production : the EXPORTS Science Plan Siegel, David A.; Buesseler, Ken O.; Behrenfeld, Michael J.; Benitez-Nelson, Claudia R.; Boss, Emmanuel S.; Brzezinski, Mark A.; Burd, Adrian B.; Carlson, Craig A.; D'Asaro, Eric A.; Doney, Scott C.; Perry, Mary J.; Stanley, Rachel H. R.; Steinberg, Deborah K. (Frontiers Media, 2016-03-08)Ocean ecosystems play a critical role in the Earth's carbon cycle and the quantification of their impacts for both present conditions and for predictions into the future remains one of the greatest challenges in oceanography. ...
The annual cycle of gross primary production, net community production, and export efficiency across the North Pacific Ocean Palevsky, Hilary I.; Quay, Paul D.; Lockwood, Deirdre E.; Nicholson, David P. (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-02-27)We measured triple oxygen isotopes and oxygen/argon dissolved gas ratios as nonincubation-based geochemical tracers of gross oxygen production (GOP) and net community production (NCP) on 16 container ship transects across ...