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What causes the inverse relationship between primary production and export efficiency in the Southern Ocean?

Le Moigne, Frederic A.C.; Henson, Stephanie A.; Cavan, Emma; Georges, Clément; Pabortsava, Katsiaryna; Achterberg, Eric P.; Ceballos-Romero, Elena; Zubkov, Mike; Sanders, Richard J.. 2016 What causes the inverse relationship between primary production and export efficiency in the Southern Ocean? Geophysical Research Letters, 43 (9). 4457-4466. 10.1002/2016GL068480

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Abstract/Summary

The ocean contributes to regulating atmospheric CO2 levels, partly via variability in the fraction of primary production (PP) which is exported out of the surface layer (i.e. the e-ratio). Southern Ocean studies have found that, contrary to global scale analyses, an inverse relationship exists between e-ratio and PP. This relationship remains unexplained, with potential hypotheses being i) large export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in high PP areas, ii) strong surface microbial recycling in high PP regions and/ or iii) grazing mediated export varies inversely with PP. We find that the export of DOC has a limited influence in setting the negative e-ratio/PP relationship. However, we observed that at sites with low PP and high e-ratios, zooplankton mediated export is large and surface microbial abundance low suggesting that both are important drivers of the magnitude of the e-ratio in the Southern Ocean.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1002/2016GL068480
ISSN: 0094-8276
Additional Keywords: carbon export; Primary production; Southern Ocean
Date made live: 22 Apr 2016 12:15 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/513350

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