Biogeosciences Discuss., 6, 4963-4991, 2009
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Calcium carbonate saturation in the surface water of the Arctic Ocean: undersaturation in freshwater influenced shelves
M. Chierici1 and A. Fransson2
1University of Gothenburg, Department of Chemistry, Marine Chemistry, 412 96 Göteborg, Sweden
2University of Gothenburg, Department of Earth Sciences, Oceanography, 403 50 Göteborg, Sweden

Abstract. In the summer of 2005, we sampled surface water and measured pH and total alkalinity (AT) underway aboard IB Oden along the Northwest Passage from Cape Farwell (South Greenland) to the Chukchi Sea. We investigated variability of carbonate system parameters, focusing particularly on carbonate concentration [CO32−] and calcium carbonate saturation states, as related to freshwater addition, biological processes and physical upwelling. Measurements on AT, pH at 15°C, salinity (S) and sea surface temperature (SST), were used to calculate total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), [CO32−] and saturation of aragonite (ΩAr) and calcite (ΩCa) in the surface water. The same parameters were measured in the water column of the Bering Strait. Some surface waters in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) and on the Mackenzie shelf (MS) were found to be undersaturated with respect to aragonite (ΩAr<1). In these areas, surface water was low in AT and DIC (<1500 μmol kg−1) relative to seawater and showed low [CO32−]. The low saturation states were probably due to the effect of dilution due from freshwater addition by sea ice melt (CAA) and river runoff (MS). High AT and DIC and low pH, corresponded with the lowest [CO32−], ΩAr and ΩCa, observed near Cape Bathurst and along the South Chukchi Peninsula. This was linked to physical upwelling of subsurface water with elevated CO2. Highest surface ΩAr and ΩCa of 3.0 and 4.5, respectively, were found on the Chukchi Sea shelf and in the cold water north of Wrangel Island, which is heavily influenced by high CO2 drawdown and lower DIC from intense biological production. In the western Bering Strait, the cold and saline Anadyr Current carries water that is enriched in AT and DIC from enhanced organic matter remineralization, resulting in the lowest ΩAr (~1.2) of the area.

Citation: Chierici, M. and Fransson, A.: Calcium carbonate saturation in the surface water of the Arctic Ocean: undersaturation in freshwater influenced shelves, Biogeosciences Discuss., 6, 4963-4991, doi:10.5194/bgd-6-4963-2009, 2009.
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