Role of deep convection on anthropogenic CO 2 sequestration in the Gulf of Lions (northwestern Mediterranean Sea)

Touratier, F.; Goyet, C.; Houpert, L. ORCID:; de Madron, X. Durrieu; Lefèvre, D.; Stabholz, M.; Guglielmi, V.. 2016 Role of deep convection on anthropogenic CO 2 sequestration in the Gulf of Lions (northwestern Mediterranean Sea). Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 113. 33-48.

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The most active deep convection area in the western Mediterranean Sea is located in the Gulf of Lions. Recent studies in this area provides some insights on the complexity of the physical dynamics of convective regions, but very little is known about their impacts on the biogeochemical properties. The CASCADE (CAscading, Surge, Convection, Advection and Downwelling Events) cruise, planed in winter 2011, give us the opportunity to compare vertical profiles of properties sampled either during stratified conditions or after/during a convection event. In the present study, we focus on the distributions of the carbonate system properties (mainly total alkalinity, AT; and total dissolved inorganic carbon, CT) because, in the context of the climate change, deep convection areas are suspected to significantly increase the sequestration of anthropogenic CO2 (CANT). Given its limited size, the impact of the Mediterranean Sea on the global carbon budget is probably minor but this marginal sea can be used as a laboratory to better understand carbon sequestration and its transfer to the basin interior by deep convection processes. Distributions of AT and CT, both measured from bottle samples, and that of CANT (estimated with the TrOCA approach) are first analyzed in the light of other key properties (salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen). An objective interpolation procedure is then applied to estimate CT and AT from CTD measured properties. With this procedure, the vertical resolution goes from a maximum of 32 samples per station to one property estimate every meter (more detailed distributions are obtained). Results provide arguments to conclude that CANT is rapidly transferred to the deepest layer due to deep convection events. During deep convection events, the increase of CANT in the water column is positively correlated to that of potential density and oxygen content. The challenge of quantifying the amount of sequestered carbon is however not resolved due to the complexity and the highly dynamical nature of the convective regions. Deep convection in the Gulf of Lions, in parallel with cascading along the continental slope, could thus potentially explain the very high levels of both CANT and acidification estimated in the deep layers of the western Mediterranean Sea.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 09670637
Date made live: 18 Feb 2019 12:54 +0 (UTC)

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