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Seasonality in carbon flux attenuation explains spatial variability in transfer efficiency

de Melo Viríssimo, Francisco, Martin, Adrian P., Henson, Stephanie A. and Wilson, Jamie D. (2024) Seasonality in carbon flux attenuation explains spatial variability in transfer efficiency. Geophysical Research Letters, 51 (4). ISSN 0094-8276

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Identification Number: 10.1029/2023GL107050


Each year, the biological carbon pump (BCP) transports large quantities of carbon from the ocean surface to the interior. The efficiency of this transfer varies geographically, and is a key determinant of the atmosphere-ocean carbon dioxide balance. Traditionally, the attention has been focused on explaining perceived geographical variations in this transfer efficiency (TE) in an attempt to understand it, an approach that has led to conflicting results. Here we combine observations and modeling to show that the spatial variability in TE can instead be explained by the seasonal variability in carbon flux attenuation. We also show that seasonality can explain the contrast between known global estimates of TE, due to differences in the date and duration of sampling. Our results suggest caution in the mechanistic interpretation of annual-mean patterns in TE and demonstrates that seasonally and spatially resolved data sets and models might be required to generate accurate evaluations of the BCP.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2024 15:39
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2024 16:45

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