Volume 41 Issue 5
May  2022
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Chenglong Li, Weidong Zhai, Di Qi. Unveiling controls of the latitudinal gradient of surface pCO2 in the Kuroshio Extension and its recirculation regions (northwestern North Pacific) in late spring[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2022, 41(5): 110-123. doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1949-1
Citation: Chenglong Li, Weidong Zhai, Di Qi. Unveiling controls of the latitudinal gradient of surface pCO2 in the Kuroshio Extension and its recirculation regions (northwestern North Pacific) in late spring[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2022, 41(5): 110-123. doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1949-1

Unveiling controls of the latitudinal gradient of surface pCO2 in the Kuroshio Extension and its recirculation regions (northwestern North Pacific) in late spring

doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1949-1
Funds:  The Senior User Project of R/V Kexue of the Center for Ocean Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences under contract No. KEXUE2020G07; the Open Fund Project of the State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences under contract No. LTO1906; the Survey Project of Environmental Radioactivity Detection in the Western Pacific (R/V Xiangyanghong 3) of the Laboratory of Marine Isotopic Technology and Environmental Risk Assessment, Third Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resource.
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  • Corresponding author: E-mail: wdzhai@126.com; qidi60@qq.com
  • Received Date: 2021-05-08
  • Accepted Date: 2021-08-16
  • Available Online: 2022-03-28
  • Publish Date: 2022-05-31
  • In the northwestern North Pacific, annual net air-sea CO2 flux is greatest in the Kuroshio Extension (KE) zone, owing to its low annual mean partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2), and it decreases southward across the basin. To quantify the influences of factors controlling the latitudinal gradient in CO2 uptake, sea surface pCO2 and related parameters were investigated in late spring of 2018 in a study spanning the KE, Kuroshio Recirculation (KR), and subtropical zones. We found that the sea-to-air pCO2 difference (ΔpCO2) was negative and at its lowest in the KE zone. ΔpCO2 gradually increased southward across the KR zone, and the sea surface was nearly in air-equilibrium with atmospheric CO2 in the subtropical zone. We found that northward cooling and vertical mixing were the two major processes governing the latitudinal gradient in surface pCO2 and ΔpCO2, while biological influences were relatively minor. In the KE zone affected by upwelling, the vertical-mixing-induced increase in surface pCO2 likely canceled out approximately 61% of the decrease in surface pCO2 caused by cooling and biological activities. Moreover, the prolonged air-sea equilibration for CO2 and relatively short hydraulic retention time jointly led to the low surface pCO2 in the KE zone in spring. Ultimately, the cooling KE current flows out of the region before it can be re-equilibrated with atmospheric CO2.
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