TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography

Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 57 (No. 6), pp. 631-646, 2001

Accumulation and Export of Dissolved Organic Carbon in Surface Waters of Subtropical and Tropical Pacific Ocean

Masahito Taki* and Yoshimi Suzuki

Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Shizuoka University, 836 Oya, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan

(Received 20 December 1999; in revised form 14 May 2001; accepted 12 June 2001)

Abstract: Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in surface waters of the Pacific Ocean during October-November, 1995, were determined using a high-temperature combustion method. The DOC in the surface mixed-layer was approximately homogeneous with a concentration between 55 and 89 mmol C l-1. This homogeneity indicates that there is a strong control of the vertical distribution of DOC by mixing processes. The DOC concentrations in the mixed-layer in the subtropical region were up to 27 mmol C l-1 higher than in the tropical region. This difference reflects the subtropical accumulation and the tropical export of DOC. There is a significant positive correlation between DOC and chlorophyll a concentrations in the mixed-layer of the North Pacific subtropical region, suggesting that phytoplankton is the primary source of DOC accumulated in this region. Calculations using simple box models suggest that DOC export in the tropical region (0-50 m depth, 10°N-10°S, along 160°W) occurs primarily by poleward advection at a rate of 0.5-3 mmol C m-2day-1. A comparison with estimates of the export rate of particulate organic carbon published in previous studies leads us to conclude that DOC export may contribute less to the carbon budget in the tropical region than has recently been supposed.


*Corresponding author E-mail: r5544005@ipc.shizuoka.ac.jp


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