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Keywords:

  • CO2;
  • anthropogenic carbon;
  • water masses;
  • South Atlantic

[1] The meridional WOCE line A14, just east of the South Atlantic Mid-Atlantic Ridge, was surveyed during the austral summer of 1995 from 4°N to 45°S. Full-depth profiles of pH, total alkalinity (TA), and total inorganic carbon (CT) were measured, allowing a test of the internal consistency of the CO2 system parameters. The correlation between CT measured and calculated from pH and TA was very good (r2 = 0.998), with an insignificant average difference of 0.1 ± 3.0 μmol kg−1 (n = 964 data). CO2 certified reference materials (CRMs) and a collection of selected samples subsequently analyzed at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography were used to assess the accuracy of our measurements at sea with satisfactory results. The three measured CO2 system variables were then used to identify the characteristic array of zonal flows throughout the South Atlantic intersected by A14. Equatorial, subequatorial, subtropical, and subantarctic domains were identified at the depth range of the surface water, South Atlantic Central Water (SACW), Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), Upper Circumpolar Water (UCPW), North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW). The nonconservative CO2 system parameters (pH, TA, CT) have been useful in identifying the transition from aged subequatorial to ventilated subtropical surface, central and intermediate waters. They have been identified as good tracers of the zonal circulation of NADW, with marked flows at the equator, 13°S, and 22°S (the “Namib Col Current”) and the sharp transition from UNADW to UCPW at 23°S. The anthropogenic CO2 inventory (CANT) was estimated and compared with CFC-derived apparent ages for different water masses along A14. The anthropogenic entry reached maximum in the relatively young and ventilated subantarctic and subtropical domains where AAIW was the most efficient CO2 trap. The calculated annual rate of CANT entry by AAIW was 0.82 μmol kg−1 y−1, in agreement with the annual rate estimated from the equilibrium between the atmospheric pCO2 increase and the upper mixed layer.