Early Wintertime CO2 Uptake in the Western Arctic Ocean

A. Murata, J. Inoue, S. Nishino, S. Yasunaka

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To investigate CO2 uptake in the western Arctic Ocean (north of 65°N), we conducted underway, ship-based observations of the partial pressures of CO2 (pCO2) and total dissolved inorganic carbon (TCO2) in surface seawater in early winter (November 2018). From these two properties of the seawater inorganic carbon system, we calculated total alkalinity (TA). In the early winter, surface seawater pCO2 in most places was lower than atmospheric pCO2. The weighted mean of the air-sea influxes of CO2 were calculated to be 7.5 ± 1.6 mmol m−2 d−1. The calculated influxes imply that the area acted as a moderate sink for atmospheric CO2 in early winter, and its rate of CO2 uptake was comparable to that (8.0 ± 1.7 mmol m−2 d−1) in summer (late August−September 2017). Spatial variations of surface seawater pCO2 in the early winter could be attributed mostly to conservative mixing changes of TCO2 and TA, which together accounted for more than 70% of the pCO2 variations. In the marginal ice zone, however, there was a decrease of surface seawater pCO2 by 70–90 μatm because of horizontal advection of water with an anomalously high temperature from the Pacific Ocean and its subsequent cooling. We concluded that mixing of water masses was as important as biological processes in causing spatial variations of pCO2 and CO2 uptake in the western Arctic Ocean, especially during seasons and in areas associated with little biological activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021JC018037
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug


  • Arctic Ocean
  • air-sea flux of CO
  • partial pressure of CO
  • total alkalinity
  • total dissolved inorganic carbon


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