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Net Community Production and Inorganic Carbon Cycling in the Irminger Sea
  • Meg F Yoder,
  • Hilary Ilana Palevsky,
  • Kristen E Fogaren
Meg F Yoder
Boston College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

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Hilary Ilana Palevsky
Boston College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
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Kristen E Fogaren
Boston College
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The subpolar North Atlantic plays an outsized role in the atmosphere-to-ocean carbon sink. The central Irminger Sea is home to well-documented deep winter convection and high phytoplankton production, which drive strong seasonal and interannual variability in regional carbon cycling. We use observational data from moored carbonate system chemistry sensors and annual turn-around cruise samples at the Ocean Observatories Initiative’s Global Irminger Sea Array to construct a near-continuous time series of mixed layer dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), pCO2, and total alkalinity from summer 2015 to summer 2022. We use these carbonate system chemistry time series to deconvolve the physical and biological drivers of surface ocean carbon cycling in this region on seasonal, annual, and interannual time scales. We find high annual net community production within the seasonally-varying mixed layer, averaging 9.7±1.7 mol m-2 yr-1 with high interannual variability (range of 6.0 to 13.7 mol m-2 yr-1). The highest daily net community production rates occur during the late winter and early spring, prior to the observed high chlorophyll concentrations associated with the spring phytoplankton bloom. As a result, the winter and early spring play a much larger role in biological carbon export from the mixed layer than traditionally thought.