Atmosperic CO₂ uptake by a coastal upwelling system Public Deposited

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  • A biological pump for transferring atmospheric CO₂ to deep ocean regimes has been identified in the upwelling zone of the U.S. Pacific coast off Oregon using high-resolution measurements of Pco₂ and nutrient concentrations that were made in May through August 2001. Surface water over most of the shelf was a strong sink for atmospheric CO₂, while a narrow nearshore strip was an intense source. The dominance of the low-CO₂ waters over the shelf area makes the region a net sink during upwelling season. This is due to (1) upwelled water that carries abundant preformed nutrients, (2) complete photosynthetic uptake of these excess nutrients and a stoichiometric proportion of CO₂, and (3) moderate warming of upwelled waters. If the remaining North Pacific’s eastern boundary area is assumed to have similar conditions, this area should represent a sink of atmospheric CO₂ that is 5% of the annual North Pacific CO₂ uptake, and roughly equivalent to the North Pacific’s uptake in the summer season. By mid-August, Pco₂ in subsurface waters increased 20–60%, corresponding to a 1.0–2.3% TCO₂ increase, due to respiration of settling biogenic debris. This water would be transported off the shelf to depth by winter downwelling flow, providing an important mechanism for sequestering atmospheric CO₂ into the oceans’ interior.
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  • Hales , B., T. Takahashi, and L. Bandstra (2005), Atmospheric CO₂ uptake by a coastal upwelling system, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 19, GB1009.
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