On the proportion of ballast versus non-ballast associated carbon export in the surface ocean

Frederic A. C. Le Moigne*, Richard J. Sanders, Maria Villa-Alfageme, Adrian P. Martin, Katsiaryna Pabortsava, Helene Planquette, Paul J. Morris, Sandy J. Thomalla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The role of biominerals in driving carbon export from the surface ocean is unclear. We compiled surface particulate organic carbon (POC), and mineral ballast export fluxes from 55 different locations in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans. Substantial surface POC export accompanied by negligible mineral export was recorded implying that association with mineral phases is not a precondition for organic export to occur. The proportion of non-mineral associated sinking POC ranged from 0 to 80% and was highest in areas previously shown to be dominated by diatoms. This is consistent with previous estimates showing that transfer efficiency in such regions is low. However we propose that, rather than the low transfer efficiency arising from diatom blooms being inherently characterized by poorly packaged aggregates which are efficiently exported but which disintegrate readily in mid water, it is due to such environments having very high levels of unballasted organic C export. Citation: Le Moigne, F. A. C., R. J. Sanders, M. Villa-Alfageme, A. P. Martin, K. Pabortsava, H. Planquette, P. J. Morris, and S. J. Thomalla (2012), On the proportion of ballast versus non-ballast associated carbon export in the surface ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L15610, doi: 10.1029/2012GL052980.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberARTN L15610
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume39
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2012

Keywords

  • SILICA
  • PACIFIC
  • NORTH
  • CROZET PLATEAU
  • SEA
  • PHAEOCYSTIS
  • ALUMINUM
  • PHYTOPLANKTON BLOOM
  • IRON
  • SOUTHERN-OCEAN

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