The intra-seasonal dynamics of the mixed layer pump in the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean : a BGC-Argo float approach Article - 2019

L. Lacour, N. Briggs, Hervé Claustre, M. Ardyna, G. Dall'Olmo

L. Lacour, N. Briggs, Hervé Claustre, M. Ardyna, G. Dall'Olmo, « The intra-seasonal dynamics of the mixed layer pump in the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean : a BGC-Argo float approach  », Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 2019, pp. 266-281. ISSN 0886-6236

Abstract

The detrainment of organic matter from the mixed layer, a process known as the mixed layer pump (ML pump), has long been overlooked in carbon export budgets. Recently, the ML pump has been investigated at seasonal scale and appeared to contribute significantly to particulate organic carbon export to the mesopelagic zone, especially at high latitudes where seasonal variations of the mixed layer depth are large. However, the dynamics of the ML pump at intraseasonal scales remains poorly known, mainly because the lack of observational tools suited to studying such dynamics. In the present study, using a dense network of autonomous profiling floats equipped with bio‐optical sensors, we captured widespread episodic ML pump‐driven export events, during the winter and early spring period, in a large part of the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean. The intraseasonal dynamics of the ML pump exports fresh organic material to depth (basin‐scale average up to 55 mg C·m−2·day−1), providing a significant source of energy to the mesopelagic food web before the spring bloom period. This mechanism may sustain the seasonal development of overwintering organisms such as copepods with potential impact on the characteristics of the forthcoming spring phytoplankton bloom through predator‐prey interactions.

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