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Title: Physical and Biological Controls of the Drake Passage pCO 2 Variability

The Southern Ocean is an important region of ocean carbon uptake, and observations indicate its air‐sea carbon flux fluctuates from seasonal to decadal timescales. Carbon fluxes at regional scales remain highly uncertain due to sparse observation and intrinsic complexity of the biogeochemical processes. The objective of this study is to better understand the mechanisms influencing variability of carbon uptake in the Drake Passage. A regional circulation and biogeochemistry model is configured at the lateral resolution of 10 km, which resolves larger mesoscale eddies where the typical Rossby deformation radius is(50 km). We use this model to examine the interplay between mean and eddy advection, convective mixing, and biological carbon export that determines the surface dissolved inorganic carbon and partial pressure of carbon dioxide variability. Results are validated against in situ observations, demonstrating that the model captures general features of observed seasonal to interannual variability. The model reproduces the two major fronts: Polar Front (PF) and Subantarctic Front (SAF), with locally elevated level of eddy kinetic energy and lateral eddy carbon flux, which play prominent roles in setting the spatial pattern, mean state and variability of the regional carbon budget. The uptake of atmospheric CO2, vertical entrainment during cool seasons, and mean advection are the major carbon sources in the upper 200 m of the region. These sources are balanced by the biological carbon export during warm seasons and mesoscale eddy transfer. Comparing the induced advective carbon fluxes, mean flow dominates in magnitude, however, the amplitude of variability is controlled by the eddy flux.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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Journal Name:
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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