Continental margins play an important role in global carbon cycle, accounting for 15-21% of the global marine primary production. Since carbon fluxes across continental margins from land to the open ocean are not well constrained, we undertook a study to develop satellite algorithms to retrieve dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and combined these satellite data with physical circulation model products to quantify the shelf boundary fluxes of DOC for the U.S. Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB). Satellite DOC was computed through seasonal relationships of DOC with colored dissolved organic matter absorption coefficients, which were derived from an extensive set of in situ measurements. The multiyear time series of satellite-derived DOC stocks (4.9 Teragrams C; Tg) shows that freshwater discharge influences the magnitude and seasonal variability of DOC on the continental shelf. For the 2010-2012 period studied, the average total estuarine export of DOC into the MAB shelf is 0.77 Tg C yr-1 (year). The integrated DOC tracer fluxes across the shelf boundaries are 12.1 Tg C yr-1 entering the MAB from the southwest alongshore boundary, 18.5 Tg C yr-1 entering the MAB from the northeast alongshore boundary, and 29.0 Tg C yr-1 flowing out of the MAB across the entire length of the 100 m isobath. The magnitude of the cross-shelf DOC flux is quite variable in time (monthly) and space (north to south). The highly dynamic exchange of water along the shelf boundaries regulates the DOC budget of the MAB at subseasonal time scales.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Soil Science
- Water Science and Technology
- Atmospheric Science
- Aquatic Science