A model of the Arctic Ocean carbon cycle



[1] A three dimensional model of Arctic Ocean circulation and mixing, with a horizontal resolution of 18 km, is overlain by a biogeochemical model resolving the physical, chemical and biological transport and transformations of phosphorus, alkalinity, oxygen and carbon, including the air-sea exchange of dissolved gases and the riverine delivery of dissolved organic carbon. The model qualitatively captures the observed regional and seasonal trends in surface ocean PO4, dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity, and pCO2. Integrated annually, over the basin, the model suggests a net annual uptake of 59 Tg C a−1, within the range of published estimates based on the extrapolation of local observations (20–199 Tg C a−1). This flux is attributable to the cooling (increasing solubility) of waters moving into the basin, mainly from the subpolar North Atlantic. The air-sea flux is regulated seasonally and regionally by sea-ice cover, which modulates both air-sea gas transfer and the photosynthetic production of organic matter, and by the delivery of riverine dissolved organic carbon (RDOC), which drive the regional contrasts in pCO2 between Eurasian and North American coastal waters. Integrated over the basin, the delivery and remineralization of RDOC reduces the net oceanic CO2 uptake by ∼10%.