Atmospheric fluxes of soluble organic C, N, and P to the Mediterranean Sea: Potential biogeochemical implications in the surface layer

Abstract : Linking atmospheric deposition to marine carbon and nutrient cycle is hampered by the lack of data on atmospheric fluxes of organic matter. To fill this gap, this study reports the first quantification of atmospheric fluxes of soluble organic carbon (SOC), nitrogen (SON) and phosphate (SOP) to the NW Mediterranean Sea. Simultaneous measurements of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and dissolved organic phosphate (DOP) in the surface mixed layer (SML) allowed estimating the potential contribution of atmospheric fluxes to marine DOC, DON and DOP inventories. We found an annual atmospheric flux of 59 mmol C m−2 year−1 for SOC, 16.4 mmol N m−2 year−1 for SON and 23.6 µmol P m−2 year−1 for SOP, with proportions of SON and SOP to total soluble nitrogen and phosphate of 40% and 25%, respectively. Assuming these annual fluxes valid for the entire western Mediterranean basin, atmospheric fluxes would be higher than DOC, DON and DOP fluxes from the Rhône River by a factor of 6, 17 and 2, for C, N and P, respectively. Inventories of DOC, DON and DOP in the surface mixed layer displayed similar trends over the study period with maximum values at the end of the stratification period. DOP contributed by 85 ± 11% to total dissolved phosphate (TDP) pool and exhibited a labile fraction (LDOP) of 27 ± 19%. The contribution of atmospheric deposition to the DOC, DON and DOP pools in the SML, estimated for the stratification period, was low for C (3%) and P (4.5%) and moderate for N (12%). The labile fraction of atmospheric SOP (LSOP) was quantified throughout the sampling period and showed a high variability ranging from 0 to 97%. Atmospheric fluxes of LSOP contributed by 7% to marine LDOP pool and could sustain up to 8% of the heterotrophic prokaryotic phosphate demand in the SML of the NW Mediterranean Sea during the stratification period. The results obtained in this study stress the need to include atmospheric fluxes of organic matter in marine biogeochemical models to achieve a more complete picture of carbon and nutrient cycle in the Mediterranean Sea.
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K. Djaoudi, F. van Wambeke, A. Barani, S. Hélias-Nunige, Richard Sempere, et al.. Atmospheric fluxes of soluble organic C, N, and P to the Mediterranean Sea: Potential biogeochemical implications in the surface layer. Progress in Oceanography, Elsevier, 2018, 163, pp.59-69. ⟨10.1016/j.pocean.2017.07.008⟩. ⟨hal-01787006⟩

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