Seasonality in carbon flux attenuation explains spatial variability in transfer efficiency

De Melo Virissimo, Francisco ORCID:; Martin, Adrian P. ORCID:; Henson, Stephanie A. ORCID:; Wilson, Jamie D.. 2024 Seasonality in carbon flux attenuation explains spatial variability in transfer efficiency. Geophysical Research Letters, 51 (4).

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
©2024.The Authors
Geophysical Research Letters - 2024 - de Melo Viríssimo - Seasonality in Carbon Flux Attenuation Explains Spatial.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Each year, the biological carbon pump (BCP) transports large quantities of carbon from the ocean surface to the interior. The efficiency of this transfer varies geographically, and is a key determinant of the atmosphere-ocean carbon dioxide balance. Traditionally, the attention has been focused on explaining perceived geographical variations in this transfer efficiency (TE) in an attempt to understand it, an approach that has led to conflicting results. Here we combine observations and modeling to show that the spatial variability in TE can instead be explained by the seasonal variability in carbon flux attenuation. We also show that seasonality can explain the contrast between known global estimates of TE, due to differences in the date and duration of sampling. Our results suggest caution in the mechanistic interpretation of annual-mean patterns in TE and demonstrates that seasonally and spatially resolved data sets and models might be required to generate accurate evaluations of the BCP.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0094-8276
Additional Keywords: biological carbon pump, carbon transfer efficiency, seasonality in flux attenuation, mesopelagic ocean, sinking speed, remineralisation
Date made live: 21 Feb 2024 11:12 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...