Geographical, seasonal, and depth variation in sinking particle speeds in the North Atlantic

Villa-Alfageme, M.; de Soto, F.C.; Ceballos, E.; Giering, S.L.C. ORCID:; Le Moigne, F.A.C.; Henson, S. ORCID:; Mas, J. L.; Sanders, R. J.. 2016 Geographical, seasonal, and depth variation in sinking particle speeds in the North Atlantic. Geophysical Research Letters, 43 (16). 8609-8616.

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AGU Publisher statement: An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. © 2016 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted. doi:10.1002/2016GL069233.
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Particle sinking velocity is considered to be a controlling factor for carbon transport to the deep sea and thus carbon sequestration in the oceans. The velocities of the material exported to depth are considered to be high in high-latitude productive systems and low in oligotrophic distributions. We use a recently developed method based on the measurement of the radioactive pair 210Po-210Pb to calculate particle sinking velocities in the temperate and oligotrophic North Atlantic during different bloom stages. Our estimates of average sinking velocities (ASVs) show that slowly sinking particles (<100?m?d?1) contribute significantly to carbon flux at all the locations except in the temperate regions during the bloom. ASVs appear to vary strongly with season, which we propose is caused by changes in the epipelagic community structure. Our results are the first field data to confirm the long-standing theory that particle sinking velocities increase with depth, with increases of up to 90% between 50 and 150?m depth.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00948276
Additional Keywords: particle sinking velocity; North Atlantic; 210Po-210Pb; particle flux attenuation; biological carbon pump; POC
Date made live: 02 Nov 2016 14:22 +0 (UTC)

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