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Global assessment of ocean carbon export by combining satellite observations and food-web models


Siegel, DA and Buesseler, KO and Doney, SC and Sailley, SF and Behrenfeld, MJ and Boyd, PW, Global assessment of ocean carbon export by combining satellite observations and food-web models, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 28, (3) pp. 181-196. ISSN 0886-6236 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1002/2013GB004743


The export of organic carbon from the surface ocean by sinking particles is an important, yet highly uncertain, component of the global carbon cycle. Here we introduce a mechanistic assessment of the global ocean carbon export using satellite observations, including determinations of net primary production and the slope of the particle size spectrum, to drive a food-web model that estimates the production of sinking zooplankton feces and algal aggregates comprising the sinking particle flux at the base of the euphotic zone. The synthesis of observations and models reveals fundamentally different and ecologically consistent regional-scale patterns in export and export efficiency not found in previous global carbon export assessments. The model reproduces regional-scale particle export field observations and predicts a climatological mean global carbon export from the euphotic zone of ~6 Pg C yr-1. Global export estimates show small variation (typically<10%) to factor of 2 changes in model parameter values. The model is also robust to the choices of the satellite data products used and enables interannual changes to be quantified. The present synthesis of observations and models provides a path for quantifying the ocean's biological pump.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:global ocean carbon export
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Boyd, PW (Professor Philip Boyd)
ID Code:91716
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:263
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-05-27
Last Modified:2022-09-01

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