Major role of particle fragmentation in regulating biological sequestration of CO2 by the oceans

Briggs, N, Dall’Olmo, G and Claustre, H 2020 Major role of particle fragmentation in regulating biological sequestration of CO2 by the oceans. Science, 367 (6479). 791-793.

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A critical driver of the ocean carbon cycle is the downward flux of sinking organic particles, which acts to lower the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. This downward flux is reduced by more than 70% in the mesopelagic zone (100 to 1000 meters of depth), but this loss cannot be fully accounted for by current measurements. For decades, it has been hypothesized that the missing loss could be explained by the fragmentation of large aggregates into small particles, although data to test this hypothesis have been lacking. In this work, using robotic observations, we quantified total mesopelagic fragmentation during 34 high-flux events across multiple ocean regions and found that fragmentation accounted for 49 ± 22% of the observed flux loss. Therefore, fragmentation may be the primary process controlling the sequestration of sinking organic carbon.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Correspondence to: This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in [Science AAAS] on [Volume number 367 14.02.20], DOI: 10.1126/science.aay1790
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > National Centre for Earth Observation
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Earth Observation Science and Applications
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 11 Mar 2020 10:29
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 10:02

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