Long time series of deep water particle flux in three biogeochemical provinces of the northeast Atlantic

Waniek, J.J.; Schulz-Bull, D.E.; Kuss, J.; Blanz, T.. 2005 Long time series of deep water particle flux in three biogeochemical provinces of the northeast Atlantic. Journal of Marine Systems, 56 (3-4). 391-415.

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Long-term observations of the deep ocean particle flux from three sites in the northeast Atlantic (33°N, 22°W; 47°N, 20°W; 54°N, 20°W) provide the basis for comparison and characterization of the biogeochemical provinces in terms of sedimentation pattern. Deep ocean particle flux data (2000 m) for fluxes of total mass and the flux composition are presented and compared to published sediment trap data from this area to consider regional-scale variations in the quantity and composition of settling material. The observations show that in the northeast Atlantic gradient of decreasing mass flux from North to South, exists consistent with known changes of biological productivity in surface waters. This gradient is associated with similar trends in opal and particulate organic carbon, whereas calcium carbonate shows trend in the opposite direction. The changes in the composition of the settling material found along the transect are indicating that the calcium carbonate flux is critical in removing organic matter from the upper ocean to the deeper sink. Its role declines from the subtropical ocean (60–80% of the particle flux) towards North (< 40%) reflecting the decreasing importance of coccolithophorid/foraminiferal blooms for particle flux from the subtropical to the subpolar North Atlantic. In contrast, the role of biogenic silica (opal) in regard to the ballasting effect increases towards North. The northern sites have much higher percentage of biogenic silica than the sites in the South, because of the deep winter mixing and the seasonality of phytoplankton dominated by diatom blooms during spring and summer. The comparison of the seasonal pattern of particle flux with the seasonal pattern of surface chlorophyll a concentrations from SeaWiFS together with the similarity of the pattern observed in calcium carbonate and opal leads to the conclusion that the particle flux at two positions (33°N, 22°W; 47°N, 20°W) is fast and directly coupled to the phytoplankton dynamics in the overlying euphotic zone.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Additional Keywords: Northeast Atlantic, biogeochemical provinces, particle flux, catchment areas, current observation, sediment traps, regional and interannual variability
Date made live: 24 Feb 2006 +0 (UTC)

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