The carbon dioxide system in the Arabian Sea

Frank J. Millero, Elizabeth A. Degler, Daniel W. O'Sullivan, Catherine Goyet, Greg Eischeid

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56 Scopus citations


In 1995 the WHOI (C. Goyet) and MIAMI (F.J. Millero) groups participated on a number of research cruises in the Arabian Sea as part of the U.S. Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This paper gives the results of our total inorganic carbon dioxide (TCO2), total alkalinity (TA) and potentiometric pH measurements made on Arabian Sea water samples during these cruises. Measurements made on Certified Reference Material (CRM) indicate that the reproducibility of the measurements was ±0.007 in pH, ±3.2 μmolkg-1 in TA, and ±1.2 μmolkg-1 in TCO2 (N = 180). The surface measurements (0-30 m) of pH and normalized TCO2 and TA were quite uniform throughout the year (pH = 8.1 ± 0.05, NTCO2 = 1950 ± 20 μmolkg-1 and NTA = 2290 ± 5 μmolkg-1). The larger variations in NTCO2 in the surface waters are related to changes in primary production and upwelling in the coastal waters. The depth profiles of pH, pCO2, TA, and TCO2 were similar to those in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. The components of the carbonate system (CO2, HCO3/-, CO3/2-) and the saturation state (Ω) for calcite and aragonite were determined from the measurements of TA and TCO2. The waters below 600 and 3400 m in the Arabian Sea were undersaturated (Ω < 1.0) for aragonite and calcite, respectively. The CO2 measurements have been combined with the nutrient data to examine the stoichiometric ratios of C/N, C/P, C/O2, and C/SiO2 of the waters. Marked differences were found for the waters above and below the oxygen minimum zone. The surface water results have been used to develop the following stoichiometry for phytoplankton in the Arabian Sea (CH2O)125(NH3)14(H3PO4)(SiO2)13. The oxidation of this material is due to reactions with O2 (77%) and NO3 (23%) with the resultant formation of N2 and N2O. The maximum amount of organic carbon oxidized has been estimated to be 3.1 μmol kg-1 in the deep waters with as much as 0.9 μmol kg-1 in the oxygen minimum zone with NO3. The maximum amount of CaCO3 dissolved in the deep waters is 116 μmol kg-1. These results, together with the organic material collected from the sediment traps, should be useful in characterizing the formation and degradation of plant material in the Arabian Sea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2225-2252
Number of pages28
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue number10-11
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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