Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Annual cycle of air-sea CO2 exchange in an Arctic Polynya Region



[1] During the Canadian International Polar Year projects in the Cape Bathurst polynya region, we measured a near–complete annual cycle of sea surface CO2 (pCO2sw), atmospheric CO2 (pCO2atm), sea surface temperature (SST), salinity (S), and wind speed (U). In this paper, we combine these data with ancillary measurements of sea ice concentration (Ci) to estimate the mean annual (September 2007–September 2008) air–sea CO2 exchange for the region. For the non–freezing seasons the exchange was calculated using a standard bulk aerodynamic approach, whereas during the freezing seasons we extrapolated eddy covariance measurements of CO2 exchange. Our results show that in 2007–08 the region served as a net sink of atmospheric CO2 at a mean rate of -10.1 ± 6.5 mmol m− 2 d− 1. The strongest calculated uptake rate occurred in the fall when wind velocities were highest, pCO2sw was significantly lower than pCO2atm, and ice was beginning to form. Atmospheric CO2 uptake was calculated to occur (at lower rates) throughout the rest of the year, except for a brief period of outgassing during late July. Using archival U, Ci, and pCO2sw data for the region, we found that winds in 2007–08 were 25–35 % stronger than the decadal mean and were predominately easterly, which appears to have induced a relatively late freeze–up (by ∼ 3 weeks relative to mean conditions) and an early polynya opening (by ∼ 4 weeks). In turn, these conditions may have given rise to a higher CO2 uptake than normal. Estimated winter CO2 exchange through leads and small polynya openings made up more than 50% of the total CO2 uptake, consistent with recent observations of enhanced CO2 exchange associated with open water components of the winter icescape. Our calculations for the Cape Bathurst polynya region are consistent with past studies that estimated the total winter CO2 uptake in Arctic coastal polynyas to be on the order of 1012 g C yr− 1.