Evolving paradigms in biological carbon cycling in the ocean
"Carbon is a keystone element in global biogeochemical cycles. It plays a fundamental role in biotic and abiotic processes in the ocean, which intertwine to mediate the chemistry and redox status of carbon in the ocean and the atmosphere. The interactions between abiotic and biogenic carbon (e.g. CO2, CaCO3, organic matter) in the ocean are complex, and there is a half-century-old enigma about the existence of a huge reservoir of recalcitrant dissolved organic carbon (RDOC) that equates to the magnitude of the pool of atmospheric CO2. The concepts of the biological carbon pump (BCP) and the microbial loop (ML) shaped our understanding of the marine carbon cycle. [...]"
Source: National Science Review
Authors: Chuanlun Zhang et al.
Earth's oxygen increased in gradual steps rather than big bursts
"A carbon cycle anomaly discovered in carbonate rocks of the Neoproterozoic Hüttenberg Formation of north-eastern Namibia follows a pattern similar to that found right after the Great Oxygenation Event, hinting at new evidence for how Earth's atmosphere became fully oxygenated.
By using the Hüttenberg Formation, which formed between a billion and half a billion years ago, to study the time between Earth's change from an anoxic environment (i.e. one lacking oxygen) to a more hospitable environment that heralded the animal kingdom, a team of researchers led by Dr. Huan Cui of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the University of Wisconsin–Madison discovered a sustained, high level of carbon. This influx of carbon, coupled with changes in other elements, indicates how changing levels of oceanic oxygen may have lent a helping hand to early animal evolution. [...]"
The devil's in the disequilibrium: multi-component analysis of dissolved carbon and oxygen changes under a broad range of forcings...
...in a general circulation model
"The complexity of dissolved gas cycling in the ocean presents a challenge for mechanistic understanding and can hinder model intercomparison. One helpful approach is the conceptualization of dissolved gases as the sum of multiple, strictly defined components. Here we decompose dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) into four components: saturation (DICsat), disequilibrium (DICdis), carbonate (DICcarb), and soft tissue (DICsoft). The cycling of dissolved oxygen is simpler, but can still be aided by considering O2, O2sat, and O2dis. [...]"
Authors: Sarah Eggleston and Eric D. Galbraith
Tiny microenvironments in the ocean hold clues to global nitrogen cycle
"Nitrogen is essential to marine life and cycles throughout the ocean in a delicately balanced system. Living organisms--especially marine plants called phytoplankton--require nitrogen in processes such as photosynthesis. In turn, phytoplankton growth takes up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helps regulate global climate. [...]"
Coccolithovirus facilitation of carbon export in the North Atlantic
"Marine phytoplankton account for approximately half of global primary productivity, making their fate an important driver of the marine carbon cycle. Viruses are thought to recycle more than one-quarter of oceanic photosynthetically fixed organic carbon, which can stimulate nutrient regeneration, primary production and upper ocean respiration2 via lytic infection and the ‘virus shunt’. [...]"
Source: Nature Microbiology
Authors: Christien P. Laber
The influence of the ocean circulation state on ocean carbon storage and CO2 drawdown potential in an Earth system model
"During the four most recent glacial cycles, atmospheric CO2 during glacial maxima has been lowered by about 90–100 ppm with respect to interglacials. There is widespread consensus that most of this carbon was partitioned in the ocean. It is, however, still debated which processes were dominant in achieving this increased carbon storage. In this paper, we use an Earth system model of intermediate complexity to explore the sensitivity of ocean carbon storage to ocean circulation state. We carry out a set of simulations in which we run the model to pre-industrial equilibrium, but in which we achieve different states of ocean circulation by changing forcing parameters such as wind stress, ocean diffusivity and atmospheric heat diffusivity. [...]"
Authors: Malin Ödalen et al.
Oxygen Optode Sensors: Principle, Characterization, Calibration, and Application in the Ocean
"Recently, measurements of oxygen concentration in the ocean—one of the most classical parameters in chemical oceanography—are experiencing a revival. This is not surprising, given the key role of oxygen for assessing the status of the marine carbon cycle and feeling the pulse of the biological pump. The revival, however, has to a large extent been driven by the availability of robust optical oxygen sensors and their painstakingly thorough characterization. For autonomous observations, oxygen optodes are the sensors of choice: They are used abundantly on Biogeochemical-Argo floats, gliders and other autonomous oceanographic observation platforms. [...]"
Source: Frontiers in Marine Science
Authors: Henry C. Bittig et al.
Read the full article here.
Oceanic crustal carbon cycle drives 26-million-year atmospheric carbon dioxide periodicities
"Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) data for the last 420 million years (My) show long-term fluctuations related to supercontinent cycles as well as shorter cycles at 26 to 32 My whose origin is unknown. Periodicities of 26 to 30 My occur in diverse geological phenomena including mass extinctions, flood basalt volcanism, ocean anoxic events, deposition of massive evaporites, sequence boundaries, and orogenic events and have previously been linked to an extraterrestrial mechanism. [...]
Source: Science Advances
Authors: R. Dietmar Müller and Adriana Dutkiewicz
Meridional overturning circulation conveys fast acidification to the deep Atlantic Ocean
"Since the Industrial Revolution, the North Atlantic Ocean has been accumulating anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) and experiencing ocean acidification1, that is, an increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions (a reduction in pH) and a reduction in the concentration of carbonate ions. The latter causes the ‘aragonite saturation horizon’—below which waters are undersaturated with respect to a particular calcium carbonate, aragonite—to move to shallower depths (to shoal), exposing corals to corrosive waters. [...]"
Authors: Fiz F. Perez et al.
Carbonate chemistry of an in-situ free-ocean CO2 enrichment experiment (antFOCE) in comparison to short term variation in Antarctic coastal waters
"Free-ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiments have been deployed in marine ecosystems to manipulate carbonate system conditions to those predicted in future oceans. We investigated whether the pH/carbonate chemistry of extremely cold polar waters can be manipulated in an ecologically relevant way, to represent conditions under future atmospheric CO2 levels, in an in-situ FOCE experiment in Antarctica. [...]"
Source: Scientific Reports
Authors: J. S. Stark et al.
Read the full article here.