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Eddy-induced carbon transport across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current


Moreau, S and Della Penna, A and Llort, J and Patel, RS and Langlais, C and Boyd, PW and Matear, RJ and Phillips, HE and Trull, T and Tilbrook, B and Lenton, A and Strutton, PG, Eddy-induced carbon transport across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 31, (9) pp. 1368-1386. ISSN 0886-6236 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1002/2017GB005669


The implications of a mesoscale eddy for relevant properties of the Southern Ocean carbon cycle are examined with in situ observations. We explored carbon properties inside a large (~190ákm diameter) cyclonic eddy that detached from the Subantarctic Front (SAF) south of Tasmania in March 2016. Based on remote sensing, the eddy was present for ∼2ámonths in the Subantarctic Zone (SAZ), an important region of oceanic carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake throughout the annual cycle and carbon subduction (i.e., where mode and intermediate waters form), before it was reabsorbed into the SAF. The eddy was sampled during the middle of its life, 1ámonth after it spawned. Comparatively, the eddy was ∼3░C colder, 0.5 practical salinity unit fresher, and less biologically productive than surrounding SAZ waters. The eddy was also richer in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and had lower saturation states of aragonite and calcite than the surrounding SAZ waters. As a consequence, it was a strong source of CO2 to the atmosphere (with fluxes up to +25ámmoláCám−2ád−1). Compared to the SAF waters, from which it originated, DIC concentration in the eddy was ∼20áμmolákg−1 lower, indicating lateral mixing, small-scale recirculation, or eddy stirring with lower-DIC SAZ waters by the time the eddy was observed. As they are commonly spawned from the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and as 50% of them decay in the SAZ (the rest being reabsorbed by the SAF-N), these types of eddies may represent a significant south-north transport pathway for carbon across the ACC and may alter the carbon properties of SAZ waters.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cyclonic eddy, carbon dioxide, ocean productivity, Subantarctic Front, Subantarctic Zone
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Chemical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Moreau, S (Dr Sebastien Moreau)
UTAS Author:Della Penna, A (Ms Alice Della Penna)
UTAS Author:Llort, J (Dr Joan Llort Jordi)
UTAS Author:Patel, RS (Mr Ramkrushnbhai Patel)
UTAS Author:Boyd, PW (Professor Philip Boyd)
UTAS Author:Phillips, HE (Associate Professor Helen Phillips)
UTAS Author:Trull, T (Professor Thomas Trull)
UTAS Author:Tilbrook, B (Dr Bronte Tilbrook)
UTAS Author:Lenton, A (Dr Andrew Lenton)
UTAS Author:Strutton, PG (Professor Peter Strutton)
ID Code:121579
Year Published:2017
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP160102870)
Web of Science® Times Cited:29
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2017-10-04
Last Modified:2018-05-24

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