Inorganic carbon parameters responding to summer hypoxia outside the Changjiang Estuary and the related implications

The eutrophication, hypoxia and coastal acidification are attracting more and more attention. In this study, inorganic carbon parameters, including dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TA) and calculated partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2), obtained from a summer cruise in August, 2009, were used to investigate their integrated response to biological processes accompanying the oxygen depletion in the areas off the Changjiang Estuary. According to the observations, the typical hypoxia occurred in the bottom water just outside the Changjiang Estuary with Dissolved Oxygen (DO) lower than 2.00 mg L−1. The biological uptake in the surface water and the decomposition of organic matter in the bottom water were fully coupled with each other. The high concentration of Chl_a (Chl_a = 10.9 μg L−1) and DO (9.25 mg L−1), profoundly decreased DIC concentration (1828 μmol kg−1) and elevated pH (8.42) was observed in the surface water. The correspondingly increased DIC and depletion of oxygen were observed in the bottom water. The semi-quantitative analysis proved that the locally-produced phytoplankton, determined by primary productivity, was deposited to the bottom and contributed about 76% of total amount of the organic carbon decomposition in the bottom. However, in the bottom hypoxia (DO = 2.05 mg L−1) area observed in the Southern Zhejiang coastal water, the responding patterns of inorganic carbon parameters deviated from the previous one. The expanding of Changjiang Diluted Water (CDW), the adding of Hangzhou Bay water (with high DIC concentration) and Coastal Current together modify the DIC background value in this area, and the local degeneration and upwelling process may also help to offset the local DIC removed by net biological uptake in surface water. In addition, when the mixing occurring in autumn, which may break the summer stratification, the excess release of high DIC in the bottom water to the subsurface water could have an important influence on coastal acidification and the CO2 uptake capacity in this area.

Wang B,, Chen J., Jin H., Li H. & Xu J., 2013. Inorganic carbon parameters responding to summer hypoxia outside the Changjiang Estuary and the related implications. Journal of Ocean University of China 12(4):568-576. Article (subscription required).


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