An inverse relationship between production and export efficiency in the Southern Ocean Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • In the past two decades, a number of studies have been carried out in the Southern Ocean to look at export production using drifting sediment traps and thorium-234 based measurements, which allows us to reexamine the validity of using the existing relationships between production, export efficiency, and temperature to derive satellite-based carbon export estimates in this region. Comparisons of in situ export rates with modeled rates indicate a two to fourfold overestimation of export production by existing models. Comprehensive analysis of in situ data indicates two major reasons for this difference: (i) in situ data indicate a trend of decreasing export efficiency with increasing production which is contrary to existing export models and (ii) the export efficiencies appear to be less sensitive to temperature in this region compared to the global estimates used in the existing models. The most important implication of these observations is that the simplest models of export, which predict increase in carbon flux with increasing surface productivity, may require additional parameters, different weighing of existing parameters, or separate algorithms for different oceanic regimes.

publication date

  • April 28, 2013