Dissolved Organic Carbon in the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

Marcos Fontela, Maribel I. García-Ibáñez, Dennis A Hansell, Herlé Mercier, Fiz F. Pérez

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Abstract

The quantitative role of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) export is evaluated by combining DOC measurements with observed water mass transports. In the eastern subpolar North Atlantic, both upper and lower limbs of the AMOC transport high-DOC waters. Deep water formation that connects the two limbs of the AMOC results in a high downward export of non-refractory DOC (197 Tg-C·yr-1). Subsequent remineralization in the lower limb of the AMOC, between subpolar and subtropical latitudes, consumes 72% of the DOC exported by the whole Atlantic Ocean. The contribution of DOC to the carbon sequestration in the North Atlantic Ocean (62 Tg-C·yr-1) is considerable and represents almost a third of the atmospheric CO 2 uptake in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26931
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 31 2016

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