New nutrients exert fundamental control on dissolved organic carbon accumulation in the surface Atlantic Ocean

Cristina Romera-Castillo, Robert T. Letscher, Dennis A. Hansell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

The inventories of carbon residing in organic matter dissolved in the ocean [dissolved organic carbon (DOC)] and in the atmosphere as CO2 are of the same order of magnitude, such that small changes in the DOC pool could have important consequences in atmospheric carbon and thus climate. DOC in the global ocean is largely formed in the sunlit euphotic zone, but identifying predictable controls on that production is an important yet unrealized goal. Here, we use a testable and causative correlation between the net production of DOC and the consumption of new nutrients in the euphotic zone of the Atlantic Ocean. We demonstrate that new nutrients introduced to the euphotic zone by upwelling in divergence zones and by winter convective overturn of the water column, and the primary production associated with those nutrients, are the ultimate driver of DOC distributions across the Atlantic basins. As new nutrient input will change with a changing climate, the role of DOC in the ocean's biological pump should likewise be impacted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10497-10502
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume113
Issue number38
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2016

Keywords

  • Atlantic
  • DOC
  • Net community production
  • New nutrients
  • Surface ocean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'New nutrients exert fundamental control on dissolved organic carbon accumulation in the surface Atlantic Ocean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this