Latitudinal Variations of Particle Fluxes in the Southern Ocean: A Bottom Tethered Sediment Trap Array Experiment
96-14028 Dymond This research project is part of the US Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) Southern Ocean Program aimed at (1) a better understanding of the fluxes of carbon, both organic and inorganic, in the Southern Ocean, (2) identifying the physical, ecological and biogeochemical factors and processes which regulate the magnitude and variability of these fluxes, and (3) placing these fluxes into the context of the contemporary global carbon cycle. This work is one of forty-four projects that are collaborating in the Southern Ocean Experiment, a three-year effort south of the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone to track the flow of carbon through its organic and inorganic pathways from the air-ocean interface through the entire water column into the bottom sediment. The experiment will make use of the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer and the R/V Thompson. This component, a collaborative study by scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Oregon State University, and the New Zealand Oceanographic Institution, concerns the export of particulate forms of carbon downward from the upper ocean. The observations will be obtained from an array of time- series sediment traps, and will be analyzed to quantify export fluxes from the Subtropical Front to the Ross Sea, over an 18- months period beginning the early austral summer of 1996. The measurement program will two annual phytoplankton blooms. The southern ocean provides a unique opportunity to investigate the processes controlling export flux in contrasting biogeochemical ocean zones demarcated by oceanic fronts. The temperature changes at the fronts coincide with gradients in nutrient concentrations and plankton ecology, resulting in a large latitudinal change in the ratio of calcium to silica taken up by the phytoplankton communities. This experiment will provide data on how the biological pump operates in the Southern Ocean and how it could potentially impact the level of atmospheric c arbon dioxide. The observed export fluxes of organic carbon, nitrogen, inorganic carbon, biogenic silica and alumina are central to the goals of the JGOFS program.
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