Enhanced uptake of atmospheric CO2 during freezing of seawater: A field study in Storfjorden, Svalbard

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Abstract

[1] The waters of Storfjorden, a fjord in southern Svalbard, were investigated in late April 2002. The temperature was at the freezing point throughout the water column; the salinity in the top 30 m was just above 34.8, then increased nearly linearly to about 35.8 at the bottom. Nutrient and oxygen concentrations showed a minimal trend all through the water column, indicating minimal decay of organic matter. Normalized dissolved inorganic carbon, fCO2, and CFCs increase with depth below the surface mixed layer, while pH decreases. In waters below 50 m, there was an increase in dissolved inorganic carbon, corrected for decay of organic matter using the phosphate profile, corresponding to about 9 g C m−2 relative to the surface water concentration. We suggest this excess is a result of enhanced air-sea exchange of CO2 caused by sea ice formation. This enhancement is suggested to be a result of an efficient exchange through the surface film during the ice crystal formation and the rapid transport of the high salinity brine out of the surface layer.

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