Air-sea CO2 exchange in the Strait of Gibraltar

The seasonal and spatial variability of the CO2 system and air-sea fluxes were studied in surface waters of the Strait of Gibraltar between February 2019 and March 2021. High-resolution data was collected by a surface ocean observation platform aboard a volunteer observing ship. The CO2 system was strongly influenced by temperature and salinity fluctuations forced by the seasonal and spatial variability in the depth of the Atlantic–Mediterranean Interface layer and by the tidal and wind-induced upwelling. The changes in seawater CO2 fugacity (fCO2,sw) and fluxes were mainly driven by temperature despite the significant influence of non-thermal processes in the southernmost part. The thermal to non-thermal effect ratio (T/B) reached maximum values in the northern section (>1.8) and minimum values in the southern section (<1.30). The fCO2,sw increased with temperature by 9.02 ± 1.99 μatm °C–1 (r2 = 0.86 and ρ = 0.93) and 4.51 ± 1.66 μatm °C–1 (r2 = 0.48 and ρ = 0.69) in the northern and southern sections, respectively. The annual cycle of total inorganic carbon normalized to a constant salinity of 36.7 (NCT) was assessed. Net community production processes described 93.5–95.6% of the total NCT change, while air-sea exchange and horizontal and vertical advection accounted for <4.6%. The fCO2,sw in the Strait of Gibraltar since 1999 has been fitted to an equation with an interannual trend of 2.35 ± 0.06 μatm year–1 and a standard error of estimate of ±12.8 μatm. The seasonality of the air-sea CO2 fluxes reported the behavior as a strong CO2 sink during the cold months and as a weak CO2 source during the warm months. Both the northern and the southern sections acted as a net CO2 sink of −0.82 and −1.01 mol C m–2 year–1, respectively. The calculated average CO2 flux for the entire area was −7.12 Gg CO2 year–1 (−1.94 Gg C year–1).

Curbelo-Hernández D., Santana-Casiano J. M., González A. G. & González-Dávila M., 2021. Air-sea CO2 exchange in the Strait of Gibraltar. Frontiers in Marine Science 8: 745304. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.745304. Article.

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