Anthropogenic Perturbations of the Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles in the East Sea (Sea of Japan)

  • Kitack LeeEmail author
  • Eunil Lee
  • Chang-Ho Lee
Part of the Atmosphere, Earth, Ocean & Space book series (AEONS)


The dynamic overturning circulation in the East Sea facilitates the absorption of anthropogenic CO2 by effectively transporting it from the surface to the interior of the sea. However, recent weakening of this overturning circulation has decreased the transport of anthropogenic CO2 and O2 from the surface to the interior of the sea, but accelerated the acidification of deep water in the basin; the rate of acidification in the deep water is higher than the rate at the surface. An emerging perturbation to the East Sea is an increase in the input of anthropogenic nitrogen. The concentration of surface nitrate (N) relative to that of phosphate (P) in the East Sea increased disproportionally over the period since 1980. The increase in the N concentration in the East Sea and adjacent seas has probably been driven primarily by deposition of pollutant nitrogen from atmospheric and riverine sources. A review of these critical results indicates that the East Sea provides insights into how future global warming and human perturbations might alter the nitrogen and carbon cycles and their interactions.


The East Sea Anthropogenic CO2 Circulation Water column Ventilation Anthropogenic nitrogen N* (the seawater concentration of N relative to that of P) 



This work was primarily supported by Mid-career Researcher Program (No. 2018R1A2A1A19019281) of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and by “Ieodo Ocean Research Station” project of the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Environmental Science and EngineeringPohang University of Science and TechnologyPohangKorea
  2. 2.Ocean Research DivisionKorea Hydrographic and Oceanographic AgencyBusanKorea

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