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124576 - Evaluating southern ocean carbon eddy.pdf (1.68 MB)

Evaluating Southern Ocean carbon eddy-pump from biogeochemical-Argo floats

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 16:24 authored by Joan Llort Jordi, Langlais, C, Matear, R, Sebastien MoreauSebastien Moreau, Lenton, A, Peter StruttonPeter Strutton
The vertical transport of surface water and carbon into ocean's interior, known as subduction, is one of the main mechanisms through which the ocean influences Earth's climate. New instrumental approaches have shown the occurrence of localized and intermittent subduction episodes associated with small-scale ocean circulation features. These studies also revealed the importance of such events for the export of organic matter, the so-called eddy-pump. However, the transient and localized nature of episodic subduction hindered its large-scale evaluation to date. In this work, we present an approach to detect subduction events at the scale of the Southern Ocean using measurements collected by biogeochemical autonomous floats (BGCArgo). We show how subduction events can be automatically identified as anomalies of spiciness and Apparent Oxygen Utilization (AOU) below the mixed layer. Using this methodology over more than 4,000 profiles, we detected 40 subduction events unevenly distributed across the Sothern Ocean. Events were more likely found in hot spots of eddy kinetic energy (EKE), downstream major bathymetric features. Moreover, the bio-optical measurements provided by BGCArgo allowed measuring the amount of Particulate Organic Carbon (POC) being subducted and assessing the contribution of these events to the total downward carbon flux at 100 m (EP100). We estimated that the eddy-pump represents less than 19% to the EP100 in the Southern Ocean, although we observed particularly strong events able to locally duplicate the EP100. This approach provides a novel perspective on where episodic subduction occurs that will be naturally improved as BGCArgo observations continue to increase.


Publication title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 American Geophysical Union

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)

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