Net community production and gross primary production rates in the western equatorial Pacific

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Abstract

[1] Net community production (NCP) and gross primary production (GPP) are two key metrics for quantifying the biological carbon cycle. In this study, we present a detailed characterization of NCP and GPP in the western equatorial Pacific during August and September 2006. We use continuous measurements of dissolved gases (O2 and Ar) in the surface water in order to quantify NCP at subkilometer scale resolution. We constrain GPP in discrete samples using the triple isotopic composition of O2. We find the average NCP in the western equatorial Pacific is 5.9 ± 0.9 mmol O2 m−2 d−1 (equivalent to 1.5 ± 0.2 mol C m−2 yr−1 with error estimates reflecting 1σ confidence levels) and the average GPP is 121 ± 34 mmol O2 m−2 d−1 (equivalent to 32 ± 9 mol C m−2 yr−1). The measurements reveal significant spatial variability on length scales as small as 50 km. The NCP/GPP ratio is 5.7% ± 1.8%. We also present results for NCP and GPP in the coastal area off Papua New Guinea and for GPP in the central Pacific along the equator.

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