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Reconciling opposing views on carbon cycling in the coastal ocean: Continental shelves as sinks and near-shore ecosystems as sources of atmospheric CO2
Chen, C.T.A.; Borges, A.V. (2009). Reconciling opposing views on carbon cycling in the coastal ocean: Continental shelves as sinks and near-shore ecosystems as sources of atmospheric CO2. Deep-Sea Res., Part 2, Top. Stud. Oceanogr. 56(8-10): 578-590. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2009.01.001
In: Deep-Sea Research, Part II. Topical Studies in Oceanography. Pergamon: Oxford. ISSN 0967-0645, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 230439 [ OMA ]

Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Coastal ocean; Continental shelves; Estuaries; CO(2); Carbon cycle

Authors  Top 
  • Chen, C.T.A.
  • Borges, A.V., more

Abstract
    Despite their moderately sized surface area, continental marginal seas play a significant role in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, as they receive huge amounts of upwelled and riverine inputs of carbon and nutrients, sustaining a disproportionate large biological activity compared to their relative surface area. A synthesis of worldwide measurements of the partial pressure Of CO2 (pCO2) indicates that most open shelves in the temperate and high-latitude regions are under-saturated with respect to atmospheric CO2 during all seasons, although the low-latitude shelves seem to be over-saturated. Most inner estuaries and near-shore coastal areas on the other hand are over-saturated with respect to atmospheric CO2. The scaling of air-sea CO2 fluxes based on pCO2 measurements and carbon mass-balance calculations indicate that the continental shelves absorb atmospheric CO2 ranging between 0.33 and 0.36 Pg C yr-1 that corresponds to an additional sink of 27% to similar to 30% of the CO2 uptake by the open oceans based on the most recent pCO2 climatology [Takahashi, T., Sutherland, S.C., Wanninkhof, R., Sweeney, C., Feely, R.A., Chipman, D., Hales, B., Friederich, G., Chavez, F., Watson, A., Bakker, D., Schuster, U., Metzl, N., Inoue, H.Y., Ishii, M., Midorikawa, T., Sabine, C., Hoppema, M., Olafsson, J., Amarson, T., Tilbrook, B., Johannessen, T., Olsen, A., Bellerby, R., De Baar, H., Nojiri, Y., Wong. C.S., Delille, B., Bates, N., 2009. Climatological mean and decadal change in surface ocean pCO2, and net sea-air CO2 flux over the global oceans. Deep-Sea Research 11, this issue [doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2008.12.009].]. Inner estuaries, salt marshes and mangroves emit up to 0.50 Pg C yr-1, although these estimates are prone to large uncertainty due to poorly constrained ecosystem surface area estimates. Nevertheless, the view of continental shelves as sinks and near-shore ecosystems as sources of atmospheric CO2 allows reconciling long-lived opposing views on carbon cycling in the coastal ocean.

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