Estimation of primary production by observation of changes in the mesoscale carbon dioxide field
The rate of primary production significantly influences the surface and vertical distribution of inorganic carbon in the ocean. Biological activity shifts the inorganic carbon system by the fixation of inorganic carbon into organic carbon and by changing the alkalinity of the water through the precipitation of calcium carbonate and the uptake of nutrients. Time-series data characterizing the inorganic carbon system can be used to infer productivity in the water column. These estimates have the advantage over traditional bottle incubations that they are naturally averaged over large space and time scales, and are free from artificial containment effects. A brief discussion is presented of the problems often encountered in interpretation, and the corrections necessary with this approach. In particular we highlight the role of physical and meteorological exchange and how to estimate the production of organic carbon from changes in the inorganic carbon system. Measurements of pCO2 made during UK BOFS cruises in the North-east Atlantic, 1989, are presented as a case study.
Article from Marine Science Symposia Vol. 197 - "Measurement of Primary Production from the Molecular to the Global Scale". Symposium held in La Rochelle, 21-24 April 1992. To access the remaining articles please click on the keyword "MSS Vol. 197".