Barium and carbon fluxes in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

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Abstract

[1] The seasonal and spatial variability of dissolved Barium (Ba) in the Amundsen Gulf, southeastern Beaufort Sea, was monitored over a full year from September 2007 to September 2008. Dissolved Ba displays a nutrient-type behavior: the maximum water column concentration is located below the surface layer. The highest Ba concentrations are typically observed at river mouths, the lowest concentrations are found in water masses of Atlantic origin. Barium concentrations decrease eastward through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Barite (BaSO4) saturation is reached at the maximum dissolved Ba concentrations in the subsurface layer, whereas the rest of the water column is undersaturated. A three end-member mixing model comprising freshwater from sea-ice melt and rivers, as well as upper halocline water, is used to establish their relative contributions to the Ba concentrations in the upper water column of the Amundsen Gulf. Based on water column and riverine Ba contributions, we assess the depletion of dissolved Ba by formation and sinking of biologically bound Ba (bio-Ba), from which we derive an estimate of the carbon export production. In the upper 50 m of the water column of the Amundsen Gulf, riverine Ba accounts for up to 15% of the available dissolved Ba inventory, of which up to 20% is depleted by bio-Ba formation and export. Since riverine inputs and Ba export occur concurrently, the seasonal variability of dissolved Ba in the upper water column is moderate. Assuming a fixed organic carbon to bio-Ba flux ratio, carbon export out of the surface layer is estimated at 1.8 ± 0.45 mol C m−2 yr−1. Finally, we propose a climatological carbon budget for the Amundsen Gulf based on recent literature data and our findings, the latter bridging the surface and subsurface water carbon cycles.

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