In situ calcium carbonate dissolution in the Pacific Ocean

R. A. Feely, C. L. Sabine, K. Lee, F. J. Millero, M. F. Lamb, D. Greeley, J. L. Bullister, R. M. Key, T. H. Peng, A. Kozyr, T. Ono, C. S. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Over the past several years researchers have been working to synthesize the WOCE/ JGOFS global CO2 survey data to better understand carbon cycling processes in the oceans. The Pacific Ocean data set has over 35,000 sample locations with at least two carbon parameters, oxygen, nutrients, CFC tracers, and hydrographic parameters. In this paper we estimate the in situ CaCO3 dissolution rates in the Pacific Ocean water column. Calcium carbonate dissolution rates ranging from 0.01-1.1 μmol kg-1 yr-1 are observed in intermediate and deepwater beginning near the aragonite saturation horizon. In the North Pacific Intermediate Water between 400 and 800 m, CaCO3 dissolution rates are more than 7 times faster than observed in middle and deep water depths (average = 0.051 μmol kg-1 yr-1). The total amount of CaCO3 that is dissolved within the Pacific is determined by integrating excess alkalinity throughout the water column. The total inventory of CaCO3 added by particle dissolution in the Pacific Ocean, north of 40°S, is 157 Pg C. This amounts to an average dissolution rate of approximately 0.31 Pg C yr-1. This estimate is approximately 74% of the export production of CaCO3 estimated for the Pacific Ocean. These estimates should be considered to be upper limits for in situ carbonate dissolution in the Pacific Ocean, since a portion of the alkalinity increase results from inputs from sediments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-1-91-12
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2002


  • Anthropogenic CO
  • Aragonite saturation
  • CaCO dissolution
  • Calcite saturation
  • Carbonate lysocline
  • Pacific Ocean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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