Tracer Based Inferences of New Primary Production in the Sea
Much of what we have learned about the oceans, particularly in the early decades of this century, stems from inferences drawn from the distribution of properties in the ocean. The pioneers of oceanography used observations of first, temperature and salinity, and then passive, nonconservative tracers, such as oxygen and dissolved nutrients to deduce the origins, pathways, and fates of water masses. The development of the dynamical methods further placed broad constraints on the rates of the processes involved. Recently, measurement of transient tracers, ie. the distributions of those substances resulting from human activities, which are changing with time, coupled with better knowledge of the “classical” tracer distributions and the advent of sophisticated numerical models, is leading to a more quantitative and complete understanding of the ocean circulation and ventilation. The quantification of these physical processes enables us to estimate the rates of biogeochemical processes in the ocean.
KeywordsEuphotic Zone Subtropical Gyre Nitrate Flux Apparent Oxygen Utilization Main Thermocline
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