The annual cycle of gross primary production, net community production, and export efficiency across the North Pacific Ocean

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Palevsky, Hilary I.
Quay, Paul D.
Lockwood, Deirdre E.
Nicholson, David P.
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North Pacific
Carbon cycle
Biological pump
Gross oxygen production
Net community production
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 the North Pacific from 2008 to 2012. We estimate rates and efficiency of biological carbon export throughout the full annual cycle across the North Pacific basin (35°N–50°N, 142°E–125°W) by constructing mixed layer budgets that account for physical and biological influences on these tracers. During the productive season from spring to fall, GOP and NCP are highest in the Kuroshio region west of 170°E and decrease eastward across the basin. However, deep winter mixed layers (>200 m) west of 160°W ventilate ~40–90% of this seasonally exported carbon, while only ~10% of seasonally exported carbon east of 160°W is ventilated in winter where mixed layers are <120 m. As a result, despite higher annual GOP in the west than the east, the annual carbon export (sequestration) rate and efficiency decrease westward across the basin from export of 2.3 ± 0.3 mol C m−2 yr−1 east of 160°W to 0.5 ± 0.7 mol C m−2 yr−1 west of 170°E. Existing productivity rate estimates from time series stations are consistent with our regional productivity rate estimates in the eastern but not western North Pacific. These results highlight the need to estimate productivity rates over broad spatial areas and throughout the full annual cycle including during winter ventilation in order to accurately estimate the rate and efficiency of carbon sequestration via the ocean's biological pump.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles 30 (2016): 361–380, doi:10.1002/2015GB005318.
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Global Biogeochemical Cycles 30 (2016): 361–380
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