High particle export over the continental shelf of the west Antarctic Peninsula



[1] Drifting cylindrical traps and the flux proxy 234Th indicate more than an order of magnitude higher sinking fluxes of particulate carbon and 234Th in January 2009 than measured by a time-series conical trap used regularly on the shelf of the west Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). The higher fluxes measured in this study have several implications for our understanding of the WAP ecosystem. Larger sinking fluxes result in a revised export efficiency of at least 10% (C flux/net primary production) and a requisite lower regeneration efficiency in surface waters. High fluxes also result in a large supply of sinking organic matter to support subsurface and benthic food webs on the continental shelf. These new findings call into question the magnitude of seasonal and interannual variability in particle flux and reaffirm the difficulty of using moored conical traps as a quantitative flux collector in shallow waters.