The seasonal cycle of ocean-atmosphere CO2 flux in Ryder Bay, west Antarctic Peninsula
Approximately 15 million km2 of the Southern Ocean is seasonally ice covered, yet the processes affecting carbon cycling and gas exchange in this climatically important region remain inadequately understood. Here, 3 years of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) measurements and carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes from Ryder Bay on the west Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) are presented. During spring and summer, primary production in the surface ocean promotes atmospheric CO2 uptake. In winter, higher DIC, caused by net heterotrophy and vertical mixing with Circumpolar Deep Water, results in outgassing of CO2 from the ocean. Ryder Bay is found to be a net sink of atmospheric CO2 of 0.59–0.94 mol Cm−2 yr−1 (average of 3 years). Seasonal sea ice cover increases the net annual CO2 uptake, but its effect on gas exchange remains poorly constrained. A reduction in sea ice on the WAP shelf may reduce the strength of the oceanic CO2 sink in this region.
Authors: Legge, Oliver J., Bakker, Dorothee C. E., Johnson, Martin T., Meredith, Michael P., Venables, Hugh J., Brown, Peter J., Lee, Gareth A.