Measurements of surface total carbon dioxide (TCO2), alkalinity, and calculated pCO2, along with water column nutrients and hydrography, were made on two cruises to the Ross Sea polynya (NBP 94-6, November-December 1994 and NBP 95-8, December 1995 to January 1996). The polynya experiences an intense phytoplankton bloom during a short period of open water conditions from mid-December to mid-February each year. Our biogeochemical observations were used to determine the temporal variability of CO2, fluxes of carbon within the ocean, and rates of air-sea exchange of CO2. Depletions of TCO2, pCO2, and nitrate+nitrite were considerable (∼70–150 μmol kg−1, 80–150 μatm, and 10–20 μmol kg−1, respectively) and associated primarily with biological uptake during Phaeocystis and diatom blooms. Alkalinity was a conservative tracer of salinity and nitrate+nitrite. Surface ρCO2 was undersaturated by ∼50–150 μatm, and air-sea gas exchange of CO2 during open water conditions was directed from atmosphere to ocean. Observed surface stoichiometric C:N ratios were 6.66: 1 and 6.77:1 for the 2 years, consistent with global “Redfield” ratios, while C:P and N:P ratios were variable (75–141:1, 12–18:1). Estimates of net community production (NCP) rates were made using in situ changes in TCO2 and nitrate+nitrite across repeated transects along 76°30′S. Mean NCP rates across the polynya ranged from 0.86 to 0.98 g C m−2 d−1. These values may be underestimated by 5–25% because of the contribution of atmospheric CO2 to the surface layer through gas exchange. Export of carbon from the surface to depth was at least 55–60% of NCP rates.