Export of pacific carbon through the arctic archipelago to the North Atlantic

During an east-to-west transect through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA) were measured. The composition of the waters throughout the Archipelago were computed using TA and δ18O data, and the carbon characteristics of these waters is examined. The influence of the Mackenzie River is primarily limited to the upper water column in the western Archipelago while the fraction of sea-ice melt water in the surface waters increases eastward with maximum values at the outflows of Jones and Lancaster Sounds. The depth of penetration of Pacific-origin upper halocline waters increases eastward through the Archipelago. In the western Archipelago, non-conservative variations in deep water DIC are used to compute a subsurface carbon surplus, which appears to be fueled by organic matter produced in the surface layer and by benthic respiration. The eastward transport of carbon from the Pacific, via the Arctic Archipelago, to the North Atlantic is estimated. The impact of increased export of sea-ice melt water to the North Atlantic is also discussed.

Shadwick E.H., Thomas H., Gratton Y., Leong D., Moorea S. A., Papakyriakou T., & Prowe A.E.F., in press. Export of pacific carbon through the arctic archipelago to the North Atlantic. Continental Shelf Research doi:10.1016/j.csr.2011.01.014. Article (subscription required).

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