Biological productivity and carbon cycling in the Arctic Ocean
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Primary production, bacterial production, particulate organic carbon fluxes and organic carbon burial rates were quantified during the summer period of 1999 in the Arctic Ocean via14C uptake,3H uptake,234Th/238U disequilibrium and210Pbex dating, respectively. The integrated primary production in the water column was as high as 197 mmolC/(m2 · d) in the Chukchi shelf and was 3.8 mmolC/(m2 · d) in the Canada Basin. These rates are higher than those reported previously. The ratios of bacterial production to primary production in the study region were higher than 0.5, indicating that microbial activity is not depressed but important in cold Arctic waters.234Th/238U disequilibria were evident at the station in the Canada Basin. The presence of significant234Th deficiency suggested that scavenging and removal processes are also important to biogeochemical cycles of trace elements in the Arctic Ocean. Particulate organic carbon export flux was estimated to be 1.0 mmolC/(m · d). Measurements of sediment excess Pb profile in the Chukchi shelf allowed us to estimate the amount of organic carbon buried in the bottom sediment, which ranged from 25 to 35 mmolC/(m2 · d) and represented about 59%-82% of the mean primary production in the euphotic zone. Overall, our results indicated that the Arctic Ocean has active carbon cycling and is not a biological desert as previously believed. Therefore, the Arctic Ocean may play an important role in the global carbon cycle and climate change.
KeywordsArctic Ocean primary production bacterial production POC export flux organic carbon burial rate isotopic tracer
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