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  1. Abstract

    The coastal ocean contributes to regulating atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations by taking up carbon dioxide (CO2) and releasing nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4). In this second phase of the Regional Carbon Cycle Assessment and Processes (RECCAP2), we quantify global coastal ocean fluxes of CO2, N2O and CH4using an ensemble of global gap‐filled observation‐based products and ocean biogeochemical models. The global coastal ocean is a net sink of CO2in both observational products and models, but the magnitude of the median net global coastal uptake is ∼60% larger in models (−0.72 vs. −0.44 PgC year−1, 1998–2018, coastal ocean extending to 300 km offshore or 1,000 m isobath with area of 77 million km2). We attribute most of this model‐product difference to the seasonality in sea surface CO2partial pressure at mid‐ and high‐latitudes, where models simulate stronger winter CO2uptake. The coastal ocean CO2sink has increased in the past decades but the available time‐resolving observation‐based products and models show large discrepancies in the magnitude of this increase. The global coastal ocean is a major source of N2O (+0.70 PgCO2‐e year−1in observational product and +0.54 PgCO2‐e year−1in model median) and CH4(+0.21 PgCO2‐e year−1in observational product), which offsets a substantial proportion of the coastal CO2uptake in the net radiative balance (30%–60% in CO2‐equivalents), highlighting the importance of considering the three greenhouse gases when examining the influence of the coastal ocean on climate.

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  2. Abstract

    The ocean coastal‐shelf‐slope ecosystem west of the Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is a biologically productive region that could potentially act as a large sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The duration of the sea‐ice season in the WAP shows large interannual variability. However, quantifying the mechanisms by which sea ice impacts biological productivity and surface dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) remains a challenge due to the lack of data early in the phytoplankton growth season. In this study, we implemented a circulation, sea‐ice, and biogeochemistry model (MITgcm‐REcoM2) to study the effect of sea ice on phytoplankton blooms and surface DIC. Results were compared with satellite sea‐ice and ocean color, and research ship surveys from the Palmer Long‐Term Ecological Research (LTER) program. The simulations suggest that the annual sea‐ice cycle has an important role in the seasonal DIC drawdown. In years of early sea‐ice retreat, there is a longer growth season leading to larger seasonally integrated net primary production (NPP). Part of the biological uptake of DIC by phytoplankton, however, is counteracted by increased oceanic uptake of atmospheric CO2. Despite lower seasonal NPP, years of late sea‐ice retreat show larger DIC drawdown, attributed to lower air‐sea CO2fluxes and increased dilution by sea‐ice melt. The role of dissolved iron and iron limitation on WAP phytoplankton also remains a challenge due to the lack of data. The model results suggest sediments and glacial meltwater are the main sources in the coastal and shelf regions, with sediments being more influential in the northern coast.

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  3. Abstract

    The Weddell Gyre (WG) is one of the main oceanographic features of the Southern Ocean south of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which plays an influential role in global ocean circulation as well as gas exchange with the atmosphere. We review the state‐of‐the art knowledge concerning the WG from an interdisciplinary perspective, uncovering critical aspects needed to understand this system's role in shaping the future evolution of oceanic heat and carbon uptake over the next decades. The main limitations in our knowledge are related to the conditions in this extreme and remote environment, where the polar night, very low air temperatures, and presence of sea ice year‐round hamper field and remotely sensed measurements. We highlight the importance of winter and under‐ice conditions in the southern WG, the role that new technology will play to overcome present‐day sampling limitations, the importance of the WG connectivity to the low‐latitude oceans and atmosphere, and the expected intensification of the WG circulation as the westerly winds intensify. Greater international cooperation is needed to define key sampling locations that can be visited by any research vessel in the region. Existing transects sampled since the 1980s along the Prime Meridian and along an East‐West section at ~62°S should be maintained with regularity to provide answers to the relevant questions. This approach will provide long‐term data to determine trends and will improve representation of processes for regional, Antarctic‐wide, and global modeling efforts—thereby enhancing predictions of the WG in global ocean circulation and climate.

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