Seasonality of Dissolved Organic Carbon in the Upper Northeast Pacific Ocean

Mariana B. Bif, Dennis A. Hansell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


From seasonal cruises in the NE Pacific Ocean during 2017, we (1) determined dissolved organic carbon concentrations; (2) calculated net community production (NCP) from nitrate drawdown; and (3) established relationships between NCP and seasonal dissolved organic carbon (DOC) accumulation in the upper 75 m. The fraction of NCP that accumulated as DOC, hereafter referred to as the net dissolved production ratio, was calculated for several stations during spring and summer. The net dissolved production ratio was about 0.26 at the oceanic station Ocean Station Papa during different seasons and years. Using nitrate concentration profiles obtained from Bio-Argo floats during 2009–2018 operating near Ocean Station Papa, we calculated NCP at high temporal resolution and then applied the 0.26 constant in order to (4) estimate DOC variability for the 9-year period. We found strong seasonality near Ocean Station Papa, with NCP maxima during summers ranging from 0.3 to 2.9 mol C/m2 and surface DOC concentrations estimated from 56 μmol/kg in winters to 73 μmol/kg in summers. There was a 10-fold interannual variability in the seasonally accumulated inventory of DOC, ranging from 0.078 to 0.75 mol C/m2. This study reinforces the value of deploying floats equipped with chemical sensors in order to better understand marine biogeochemical cycles, especially when high resolution data cannot be obtained otherwise. Given that ~26% of NCP accumulates as DOC in the central Gulf of Alaska, the remaining balance of ~74% is available for export as sinking biogenic particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-539
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019


  • DOC
  • Line P
  • Ocean Station Papa
  • dissolved organic matter (DOM)
  • marine biogeochemistry
  • net community production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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