Dissolved organic carbon pools and export from the coastal ocean

Cristina Barrón, Carlos M. Duarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

The distribution of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration across coastal waters was characterized based on the compilation of 3510 individual estimates of DOC in coastal waters worldwide. We estimated the DOC concentration in the coastal waters that directly exchange with open ocean waters in two different ways, as the DOC concentration at the edge of the shelf break and as the DOC concentration in coastal waters with salinity close to the average salinity in the open ocean. Using these estimates of DOC concentration in the coastal waters that directly exchange with open ocean waters, the mean DOC concentration in the open ocean and the estimated volume of water annually exchanged between coastal and open ocean, we estimated a median ± SE (and average ± SE) global DOC export from coastal to open ocean waters ranging from 4.4 ± 1.0 Pg C yr−1 to 27.0 ± 1.8 Pg C yr−1 (7.0 ± 5.8 Pg C yr−1 to 29.0 ± 8.0 Pg C yr−1) depending on the global hydrological exchange. These values correspond to a median and mean median (and average) range between 14.7 ± 3.3 to 90.0 ± 6.0 (23.3 ± 19.3 to 96.7 ± 26.7) Gg C yr−1 per km of shelf break, which is consistent with the range between 1.4 to 66.1 Gg C yr−1 per km of shelf break of available regional estimates of DOC export. The estimated global DOC export from coastal to open ocean waters is also consistent with independent estimates of the net metabolic balance of the coastal ocean. The DOC export from the coastal to the open ocean is likely to be a sizeable flux and is likely to be an important term in the carbon budget of the open ocean, potentially providing an important subsidy to support heterotrophic activity in the open ocean.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1725-1738
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Volume29
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 21 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science

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