The shallower oxygen-poor water masses of the ocean confine a majority of the microbial communities that can produce up to 90 % of oceanic N2. This effective N2-yielding section encloses a suspended small-particle layer, inferred from particle backscattering (bbp) measurements. It is thus hypothesized that this layer (hereafter, the bbp-layer) is linked to microbial communities involved in N2 yielding such as nitrate-reducing SAR11 as well as sulfur-oxidizing, anammox, and denitrifying bacteria – a hypothesis yet to be evaluated. Here, data collected by three BGC-Argo floats deployed in the Black Sea are used to investigate the origin of this bbp-layer. To this end, we evaluate how the key drivers of N2-yielding bacteria dynamics impact the vertical distribution of bbp and the thickness of the bbp-layer. In conjunction with published data on N2 excess, our results suggest that the bbp-layer is at least partially composed of the bacteria driving N2 yielding for three main reasons: (1) strong correlations are recorded between bbp and nitrate; (2) the top location of the bbp-layer is driven by the ventilation of oxygen-rich subsurface waters, while its thickness is modulated by the amount of nitrate available to produce N2; and (3) the maxima of both bbp and N2 excess coincide at the same isopycnals where bacteria involved in N2 yielding coexist. We thus advance that bbp and O2 can be exploited as a combined proxy to delineate the N2-yielding section of the Black Sea. This proxy can potentially contribute to refining delineation of the effective N2-yielding section of oxygen-deficient zones via data from the growing BGC-Argo float network.
Permafrost ground is one of the largest repositories of terrestrial organic carbon and might become or already is a carbon source in response to ongoing global warming. With this study of syngenetically frozen, ice-rich and organic carbon (OC)-bearing Yedoma and associated alas deposits in central Yakutia (Republic of Sakha), we aimed to assess the local sediment deposition regime and its impact on permafrost carbon storage. For this purpose, we investigated the Yukechi alas area (61.76495∘ N, 130.46664∘ E), which is a thermokarst landscape degrading into Yedoma in central Yakutia. We retrieved two sediment cores (Yedoma upland, 22.35 m deep, and alas basin, 19.80 m deep) in 2015 and analyzed the biogeochemistry, sedimentology, radiocarbon dates and stable isotope geochemistry. The laboratory analyses of both cores revealed very low total OC (TOC) contents (<0.1 wt %) for a 12 m section in each core, whereas the remaining sections ranged from 0.1 wt % to 2.4 wt % TOC. The core sections holding very little to no detectable OC consisted of coarser sandy material were estimated to be between 39 000 and 18 000 BP (years before present) in age. For this period, we assume the deposition of organic-poor material. Pore water stable isotope data from the Yedoma core indicated a continuously frozen state except for the surface sample, thereby ruling out Holocene reworking. In consequence, we see evidence that no strong organic matter (OM) decomposition took place in the sediments of the Yedoma core until today. The alas core from an adjacent thermokarst basin was strongly disturbed by lake development and permafrost thaw. Similar to the Yedoma core, some sections of the alas core were also OC poor (<0.1 wt %) in 17 out of 28 samples. The Yedoma deposition was likely influenced by fluvial regimes in nearby streams and the Lena River shifting with climate. With its coarse sediments with low OC content (OC mean of 5.27 kg m−3), the Yedoma deposits in the Yukechi area differ from other Yedoma sites in North Yakutia that were generally characterized by silty sediments with higher OC contents (OC mean of 19 kg m−3 for the non-ice wedge sediment). Therefore, we conclude that sedimentary composition and deposition regimes of Yedoma may differ considerably within the Yedoma domain. The resulting heterogeneity should be taken into account for future upscaling approaches on the Yedoma carbon stock. The alas core, strongly affected by extensive thawing processes during the Holocene, indicates a possible future pathway of ground subsidence and further OC decomposition for thawing central Yakutian Yedoma deposits.
Upper suboxic water masses confine a majority of the microbial communities that can produce up to 90 % of oceanic N2. This effective N2-yielding section encloses a suspended small-particle layer, inferred from particle backscattering (bbp) measurements. It is thus hypothesized that this layer (hereafter, the bbp-layer) is linked to N2-yielding microbial communities such as anammox and denitrifying bacteria – a hypothesis yet to be evaluated. Here, data collected by three BGC-Argo floats deployed in the Black Sea are used to investigate the origin of this bbp-layer. To this end, we evaluate how key drivers of anammox-denitrifying bacteria dynamics impact on the vertical distribution of bbp and the thickness of the bbp-layer. In conjunction with published data on N2 excess, our results suggest that the bbp-layer is at least partially composed of anammox-denitrifying bacteria for three main reasons: (1) strong correlations are recorded between bbp and nitrate; (2) the top location of the bbp-layer is driven by the ventilation of oxygen-rich subsurface waters, while its thickness is modulated by the amount of nitrate available to produce N2; (3) the maxima of both bbp and N2 excess coincide at the same isopycnals where denitrifying-anammox bacteria coexist. We thus advance that bbp and O2 can be exploited as a combined proxy to delineate the N2-yielding section of the Black Sea. This proxy can potentially contribute to refining delineation of the effective N2-yielding section of oxygen-deficient zones via data from the growing BGC-Argo float network.
The North Atlantic Ocean is a major sink region for atmospheric CO2 and contributes to the storage of anthropogenic carbon (Cant). While there is general agreement that the intensity of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) modulates uptake, transport and storage of Cant in the North Atlantic Subpolar Ocean, processes controlling their recent variability and evolution over the 21st century remain uncertain. This study investigates the relationship between transport, air–sea flux and storage rate of Cant in the North Atlantic Subpolar Ocean over the past 53 years. Its relies on the combined analysis of a multiannual in situ data set and outputs from a global biogeochemical ocean general circulation model (NEMO–PISCES) at 1∕2∘ spatial resolution forced by an atmospheric reanalysis. Despite an underestimation of Cant transport and an overestimation of anthropogenic air–sea CO2 flux in the model, the interannual variability of the regional Cant storage rate and its driving processes were well simulated by the model. Analysis of the multi-decadal simulation revealed that the MOC intensity variability was the major driver of the Cant transport variability at 25 and 36∘ N, but not at OVIDE. At the subpolar OVIDE section, the interannual variability of Cant transport was controlled by the accumulation of Cant in the MOC upper limb. At multi-decadal timescales, long-term changes in the North Atlantic storage rate of Cant were driven by the increase in air–sea fluxes of anthropogenic CO2. North Atlantic Central Water played a key role for storing Cant in the upper layer of the subtropical region and for supplying Cant to Intermediate Water and North Atlantic Deep Water. The transfer of Cant from surface to deep waters occurred mainly north of the OVIDE section. Most of the Cant transferred to the deep ocean was stored in the subpolar region, while the remainder was exported to the subtropical gyre within the lower MOC.
A significant decrease of dissolved iron (DFe) concentration has been observed after dust addition into mesocosms during the DUst experiment in a low Nutrient low chlorophyll Ecosystem (DUNE), carried out in the summer of 2008. Due to low biological productivity at the experiment site, biological consumption of iron can not explain the magnitude of DFe decrease. To understand processes regulating the observed DFe variation, we simulated the experiment using a one-dimensional model of the Fe biogeochemical cycle, coupled with a simple ecosystem model. Different size classes of particles and particle aggregation are taken into account to describe the particle dynamics. DFe concentration is regulated in the model by dissolution from dust particles and adsorption onto particle surfaces, biological uptake, and photochemical mobilisation of particulate iron. The model reproduces the observed DFe decrease after dust addition well. This is essentially explained by particle adsorption and particle aggregation that produces a high export within the first 24 h. The estimated particle adsorption rates range between the measured adsorption rates of soluble iron and those of colloidal iron, indicating both processes controlling the DFe removal during the experiment. A dissolution timescale of 3 days is used in the model, instead of an instantaneous dissolution, underlining the importance of dissolution kinetics on the short-term impact of dust deposition on seawater DFe. Sensitivity studies reveal that initial DFe concentration before dust addition was crucial for the net impact of dust addition on DFe during the DUNE experiment. Based on the balance between abiotic sinks and sources of DFe, a critical DFe concentration has been defined, above which dust deposition acts as a net sink of DFe, rather than a source. Taking into account the role of excess iron binding ligands and biotic processes, the critical DFe concentration might be applied to explain the short-term variability of DFe after natural dust deposition in various different ocean regions.
The Atlantic and Arctic Oceans are critical components of the global carbon cycle. Here we quantify the net sea–air CO2 flux, for the first time, across different methodologies for consistent time and space scales for the Atlantic and Arctic basins. We present the long-term mean, seasonal cycle, interannual variability and trends in sea–air CO2 flux for the period 1990 to 2009, and assign an uncertainty to each. We use regional cuts from global observations and modeling products, specifically a pCO2-based CO2 flux climatology, flux estimates from the inversion of oceanic and atmospheric data, and results from six ocean biogeochemical models. Additionally, we use basin-wide flux estimates from surface ocean pCO2 observations based on two distinct methodologies. Our estimate of the contemporary sea–air flux of CO2 (sum of anthropogenic and natural components) by the Atlantic between 40° S and 79° N is −0.49 ± 0.05 Pg C yr−1, and by the Arctic it is −0.12 ± 0.06 Pg C yr−1, leading to a combined sea–air flux of −0.61 ± 0.06 Pg C yr−1 for the two decades (negative reflects ocean uptake). We do find broad agreement amongst methodologies with respect to the seasonal cycle in the subtropics of both hemispheres, but not elsewhere. Agreement with respect to detailed signals of interannual variability is poor, and correlations to the North Atlantic Oscillation are weaker in the North Atlantic and Arctic than in the equatorial region and southern subtropics. Linear trends for 1995 to 2009 indicate increased uptake and generally correspond between methodologies in the North Atlantic, but there is disagreement amongst methodologies in the equatorial region and southern subtropics.
The Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems (EBUS) contribute to one fifth of the global catches in the ocean. Often associated with Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs), EBUS represent key regions for the oceanic nitrogen (N) cycle. Important bioavailable N loss due to denitrification and anammox processes as well as greenhouse gas emissions (e.g, N2O) occur also in these EBUS. However, their dynamics are currently crudely represented in global models. In the climate change context, improving our capability to properly represent these areas is crucial due to anticipated changes in the winds, productivity, and oxygen content. We developed a biogeochemical model (BioEBUS) taking into account the main processes linked with EBUS and associated OMZs. We implemented this model in a 3-D realistic coupled physical/biogeochemical configuration in the Namibian upwelling system (northern Benguela) using the high-resolution hydrodynamic ROMS model. We present here a validation using in situ and satellite data as well as diagnostic metrics and sensitivity analyses of key parameters and N2O parameterizations. The impact of parameter values on the OMZ off Namibia, on N loss, and on N2O concentrations and emissions is detailed. The model realistically reproduces the vertical distribution and seasonal cycle of observed oxygen, nitrate, and chlorophyll a concentrations, and the rates of microbial processes (e.g, NH4+ and NO2− oxidation, NO3− reduction, and anammox) as well. Based on our sensitivity analyses, biogeochemical parameter values associated with organic matter decomposition, vertical sinking, and nitrification play a key role for the low-oxygen water content, N loss, and N2O concentrations in the OMZ. Moreover, the explicit parameterization of both steps of nitrification, ammonium oxidation to nitrate with nitrite as an explicit intermediate, is necessary to improve the representation of microbial activity linked with the OMZ. The simulated minimum oxygen concentrations are driven by the poleward meridional advection of oxygen-depleted waters offshore of a 300 m isobath and by the biogeochemical activity inshore of this isobath, highlighting a spatial shift of dominant processes maintaining the minimum oxygen concentrations off Namibia. In the OMZ off Namibia, the magnitude of N2O outgassing and of N loss is comparable. Anammox contributes to about 20% of total N loss, an estimate lower than currently assumed (up to 50%) for the global ocean.
The boron isotopic composition (δ11B) of marine carbonates (e.g. corals) is increasingly utilised as a proxy for paleo-pH, with the strong correlation between δ11B of marine calcifiers and seawater pH now well documented. However, the potential roles of other environmental parameters that may also influence both the boron isotopic composition and boron concentration into coral aragonite are poorly known. To overcome this, the tropical scleractinian coral Acropora sp. was cultured under 3 different temperatures (22, 25 and 28 °C) and two light conditions (200 and 400 μmol photon m−2 s−1). The δ11B indicates an increase in internal pH that is dependent on the light conditions. Changes in light intensities from 200 to 400 μmol photon m−2 s−1 seem to indicate an apparent decrease in pH at the site of calcification, contrary to what is expected in most models of light-enhanced calcification. Thus, variations in light conditions chosen to mimic average annual variations of the natural environments where Acropora sp. colonies can be found could bias pH reconstructions by about 0.05 units. For both light conditions, a significant impact of temperature on δ11B can be observed between 22 and 25 °C, corresponding to an increase of about 0.02 pH-units, while no further δ11B increase can be observed from 25 to 28 °C. This non-linear temperature effect complicates the determination of a correction factor. B / Ca ratios decrease with increasing light, consistent with the decrease in pH at the site of calcification under enhanced light intensities. When all the other parameters are constant, boron concentrations in Acropora sp. increase with increasing temperatures and increasing carbonate ion concentrations. These observations contradict previous studies where B / Ca in corals was found to vary inversely with temperature, suggesting that the controlling factors driving boron concentrations have not yet been adequately identified and might be influenced by other environmental variables and/or species-specific responses.
The potential influence of the cold-water corals (CWCs) Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata on the dynamics of inorganic nutrient and total organic carbon (TOC) concentrations and the abundances of prokaryotes and viruses in bottom water was assessed in onboard incubation experiments. Ammonium, nitrite, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) and TOC concentrations and N:P ratios were typically higher in incubation water with corals than in controls, whereas nitrate concentrations did not reveal a clear trend. Mucus release (normalized to coral surface) was estimated by the net increase rate of TOC concentrations and averaged 23 ± 6 mg C m−2 h−1 for L. pertusa and 21 ± 8 mg C m−2 h−1 for M. oculata. Prokaryotic and viral abundance and turnover rates were typically stimulated in incubation water with corals. This estimated prokaryotic stimulation averaged 6.0 ± 3.0 × 109 cells m−2 h−1 for L. pertusa and 8.4 ± 2.9 × 109 cells m−2 h−1 for M. oculata, whereas the estimated viral stimulation averaged 15.6 ± 12.7 × 109 particles m−2 h−1 for L. pertusa and 4.3 ± 0.4 × 109 particles m−2 h−1 M. oculata. Our data suggest that prokaryotes and viruses are released from corals and that nutrient and mucus release enhanced prokaryotic and viral production. The result of this stimulation could be a fuelling of bottom water in CWC reefs with nutrients and organic matter and consequently an enhancement of microbe-mediated processes.
A massive diatom bloom forms annually in the surface waters of the naturally iron-fertilized Kerguelen Plateau (Southern Ocean). In this study, silicon isotopic signatures (δ30Si) of silicic acid (DSi) and suspended biogenic silica (BSi) were investigated through the whole water column with unprecedented spatial resolution, during the KEOPS-2 experiment (spring 2011). We used δ30Si measurements to track the sources of silicon that fuelled the bloom, and investigated the seasonal evolution of the Si biogeochemical cycle in the iron-fertilized area. We compared the results from stations with various degrees of iron enrichment and bloom conditions to an HNLC reference station. Dissolved and particulate δ30Si signatures were highly variable in the upper 500 m, reflecting the effect of intense silicon utilization in spring, while they were quite homogeneous in deeper waters. The Si isotopic and mass balance identified a unique Winter Water (WW) Si source for the iron-fertilized area that originated from southeast of the Kerguelen Plateau and spread northward. When the WW reached a retroflection of the Polar Front (PF), the δ30Si composition of the silicic acid pool became progressively heavier. This would result from sequential diapycnal and isopycnal mixings between the initial WW and ML water masses, highlighting the strong circulation of surface waters that defined this zone. When comparing the results from the two KEOPS expeditions, the relationship between DSi depletion, BSi production, and their isotopic composition appears decoupled in the iron-fertilized area. This seasonal decoupling could help to explain the low apparent fractionation factor observed in the ML at the end of summer. Taking into account these considerations, we refined the seasonal net BSi production in the ML of the iron-fertilized area to 3.0 ± 0.3 mol Si m−2 yr−1, which was exclusively sustained by surface water phytoplankton populations. These insights confirm that the isotopic composition of dissolved and particulate silicon is a promising tool to improve our understanding of the Si biogeochemical cycle since the isotopic and mass balance allows resolution of processes in the Si cycle (i.e. uptake, dissolution, mixing).