Methane in the northern Atlantic controlled by microbial oxidation and atmospheric history
Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 26, Issue 5, pages 587–590, 1 March 1999
How to Cite
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 JAN 1999
- Manuscript Received: 23 OCT 1998
During May - August, 1997, the distributions of dissolved methane and CCl3F (CFC11) were measured in the Atlantic between 50° and 60°N. In surface waters throughout the region, methane was observed to be close to equilibrium with the atmospheric mixing ratio, implying that surface ocean methane is tracking its atmospheric history in regions of North Atlantic Deep Water formation. Despite the different atmospheric history and ocean chemistry of CH4 and CFC11, their spatial distribution patterns in the water column are remarkably similar. One-dimensional distributions have been simulated with an advection-diffusion model forced by the atmospheric histories. The results suggest that the similar patterns result from the increasing input of CH4 and CFC11 to newly formed deep waters over time, combined with the effect of horizontal mixing and the oxidation of methane on a 50 year time scale.