Abstract

The Southern Ocean (SO) contributes most of the uncertainty in contemporary estimates of the mean annual flux of carbon dioxide CO2 between the ocean and the atmosphere. Attempts to reduce this uncertainty have aimed at resolving the seasonal cycle of the fugacity of CO2 (fCO2). We use hourly CO2 flux and driver observations collected by the combined deployment of ocean gliders to show that resolving the seasonal cycle is not sufficient to reduce the uncertainty of the flux of CO2 to below the threshold required to reveal climatic trends in CO2 fluxes. This was done by iteratively subsampling the hourly CO2 data set at various time intervals. We show that because of storm-linked intraseasonal variability in the spring-late summer, sampling intervals longer than 2 days alias the seasonal mean flux estimate above the required threshold. Moreover, the regional nature and long-term trends in storm characteristics may be an important influence in the future role of the SO in the carbon-climate system.

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The spatial variability of the FCO2 uncertainties, which arise from a uniform 10 day sampling period choice. The Southern Ocean is characterized with uncertainties of 10–25% (10–25 μmol m2 h1) at this sampling period.

The spatial variability of the FCO2 uncertainties, which arise from a uniform 10 day sampling period choice. The Southern Ocean is characterized with uncertainties of 10–25% (10–25 μmol m2 h1) at this sampling period.

Meredith, M., Swart S., Monteiro P.M.S., et al.
Abstract

The Southern Ocean exerts a disproportionately strong influence on global climate, so determining its changing state is of key importance in understanding the planetary-scale system. This is a consequence of the connectedness of the Southern Ocean, which links the other major ocean basins and is a site of strong lateral fluxes of climatically important tracers. It is also a consequence of processes occurring within the Southern Ocean, including the vigorous overturning circulation that leads to the formation of new water masses, and to the strong exchange of carbon, heat, and other climatically relevant properties at the ocean surface. However, determining the state of the Southern Ocean in a given year is even more problematic than for other ocean basins, due to the paucity of observations. Nonetheless, using the limited data available, some key aspects of the state of the Southern Ocean in 2014 can be ascertained.

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BAMS Sate of the Climate 2014 cover

BAMS Sate of the Climate 2014 cover

Abstract

In the Southern Ocean there is increasing evidence that seasonal to sub-seasonal temporal scales, meso- and submesoscales play an important role in understanding the sensitivity of ocean primary productivity to climate change. In this study, high-resolution glider data (3 hourly, 2km horizontal resolution), from ~6 months of sampling (spring through summer) in the Sub-Antarctic Zone, is used to assess 1) the different forcing mechanisms driving variability in upper ocean physics and 2) how these may characterize the seasonal cycle of phytoplankton production. Results highlight the important role meso- to submesoscale features have in driving vertical stratification and early phytoplankton bloom initiations in spring by increasing light exposure. In summer, the combined role of solar heat flux, mesoscale features and subseasonal storms on the extent of the mixed layer is proposed to regulate both light and iron to the upper ocean at appropriate time scales for phytoplankton growth, thereby sustaining the bloom for an extended period through to late summer. This study highlights the need for climate models to resolve both meso- to submesoscale and subseasonal processes in order to accurately reflect the phenology of the phytoplankton community and understand the sensitivity of ocean primary productivity to climate change.

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Glider sections of (a) temperature (°C), (b) stratification and (c) chlorophyll-a concentration (mg m-3) during the 'spring bloom initiation phase' of SOSCEx. The MLD is depicted using a white curve.

Glider sections of (a) temperature (°C), (b) stratification and (c) chlorophyll-a concentration (mg m-3) during the ‘spring bloom initiation phase’ of SOSCEx. The MLD is depicted using a white curve.

Swart S., Liu, J., Bhaskar, P., Newman, L., Finney, K., Meredith, M., Schofield, O.
Abstract

The first Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) Asian Workshop was successfully held in Shanghai, China in May 2013, attracting over 40 participants from six Asian nations and widening exposure to the objectives and plans of SOOS. The workshop was organized to clarify Asian research activities currently taking place in the Southern Ocean and to discuss, amongst other items, the potential for collaborative efforts with and between Asian countries in SOOS-related activities. The workshop was an important mechanism to initiate discussion, understanding and collaborative avenues in the Asian domain of SOOS beyond current established efforts. Here we present some of the major outcomes of the workshop covering the principle themes of SOOS and attempt to provide a way forward to achieve a more integrated research community, enhance data collection and quality, and guide scientific strategy in the Southern Ocean.

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Map of the Southern Ocean and approximate location of regular shipping transects maintained by Asian nations.

Map of the Southern Ocean and approximate location of regular shipping transects maintained by Asian nations.

Liu, J., Swart S., Bhaskar, P., Newman, L., Meredith, M., Schofield, O., Jianfeng, HE.
Abstract

SOOS must be a fully integrated and coordinated international system with infrastructure, resources and investment from all nations involved in the Southern Ocean research and observations. This was the motivation behind the organization of the SOOS Asian workshop. The objective of the SOOS Asian Workshop was to highlight the activities of Asian countries currently engaged in Southern Ocean research and observations relevant to the SOOS science strategy, and to stimulate discussion and foster further involvement from Asian countries in the SOOS activities.

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The Southern Ocean Observing System

The Southern Ocean Observing System

Abstract

One of the important gaps in the reliable prediction of the response of the Southern Ocean carbon cycle to climate change is its sensitivity to seasonal, subseasonal forcings (in time) and mesoscales (in space). The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observatory (SOCCO), a CSIR-led consortium, is planning the Southern Ocean Seasonal Cycle Experiment (SOSCEx), which will be a new type of large-scale experiment. SOSCEx reflects a shift from the historical focus on ship-based descriptive Southern Ocean oceanography and living resource conservation, to system-scale dynamics studies spanning much greater time and space scales. The experiment provides a new and unprecedented opportunity to gain a better understanding of the links between climate drivers and ecosystem productivity and climate feedbacks in the Southern Ocean. This combined high-resolution approach to both observations and modelling experiments will permit us, for the first time, to address some key questions relating to the physical nature of the Southern Ocean and its carbon cycle.

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A space–time plot showing relative scale magnitudes of a number of platforms (ships, instrumented moorings and gliders), the seasonal cycle and climate projections. This graphical representation emphasises that, even with both ships and moorings observational platforms, it is not possible to address questions on the seasonal cycle sensitivity of climate projections without using autonomous platforms. Ocean gliders are uniquely poised to bridge the spatial and temporal gap between ships and moorings – a bridge which critically covers the seasonal 'window' in the Southern Ocean Seasonal Cycle Experiment.

A space–time plot showing relative scale magnitudes of a number of platforms (ships, instrumented moorings and gliders), the seasonal cycle and climate projections. This graphical representation emphasises that, even with both ships and moorings observational platforms, it is not possible to address questions on the seasonal cycle sensitivity of climate projections without using autonomous platforms. Ocean gliders are uniquely poised to bridge the spatial and temporal gap between ships and moorings – a bridge which critically covers the seasonal ‘window’ in the Southern Ocean Seasonal Cycle Experiment.

Goni, G., Roemmich, D. , Swart S., et al.
Abstract

The Ship Of Opportunity Program (SOOP) is an international World Meteorological Organization (WMO)-Intergovernmental  Oceanographic Commission (IOC) program that addresses both scientific and operational goals to contribute to building a sustained ocean observing system. The SOOP main mission is the collection of upper ocean temperature profiles using eXpendable  BathyThermographs (XBTs), mostly from volunteer vessels. The XBT deployments are designated by their spatial and temporal sampling goals or modes of deployment (Low Density, Frequently Repeated, and High Density) and sample along well-observed transects, on either large or small spatial scales, or at special locations such as boundary currents and chokepoints, all of which are complementary to the Argo global broad scale array.

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XBT observations transmitted in (red) real- and (blue) delayed- and real-time in 2008

XBT observations transmitted in (red) real- and (blue) delayed- and real-time in 2008

Abstract

In this study we use the southern Benguela upwelling system to investigate the role of nutrient and carbon stoichiometry on carbonate dynamics in eastern boundary upwelling systems. Six months in 2010 were sampled along a cross-shelf transect. Data were classified into summer, autumn, and winter. Nitrate, phosphate, dissolved inorganic carbon, and total alkalinity ratios were used in a stoichiometric reconstruction model to determine the contribution of biogeochemical processes on a parcel of water as it upwelled. Deviations from the Redfield ratio were dominated by denitrification and sulfate reduction in the subsurface waters. The N:P ratio was lowest (7.2) during autumn once anoxic waters had formed. Total alkalinity (TA) generation by anaerobic remineralization decreased pCO2 by 227 μatm. Ventilation during summer and winter resulted in elevated N:P ratios (12.3). We propose that anaerobic production of TA has an important regional effect in mitigating naturally high CO2 and making upwelled waters less corrosive.

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Marine Carbonate fluxes in the southern Benguela: A schematic showing the magnitude of processes contributing to DIC and TA fluxes. Black numbers represent DIC and gray TA. The solid/dashed/dotted lines represent the thermocline and its intensity. Increases in DIC throughout all seasons were largely due to aerobic remineralization (RM). Large TA gains in autumn were due to benthic processes: denitrification (DN), sulfate reduction (SR), and calcite dissolution (CD). Strong primary production (PP) in summer reduced the surface DIC, while calcification (CL) in autumn resulted in decreased TA.

Marine Carbonate fluxes in the southern Benguela: A schematic showing the magnitude of processes contributing to DIC and TA fluxes. Black numbers represent DIC and gray TA. The solid/dashed/dotted lines represent the thermocline and its intensity. Increases in DIC throughout all seasons were largely due to aerobic remineralization (RM). Large TA gains in autumn were due to benthic processes: denitrification (DN), sulfate reduction (SR), and calcite dissolution (CD). Strong primary production (PP) in summer reduced the surface DIC, while calcification (CL) in autumn resulted in decreased TA.

Abstract

In the Ocean, the seasonal cycle is the mode that couples climate forcing to ecosystem response in production, diversity and carbon export. A better characterisation of the ecosystem’s seasonal cycle therefore addresses an important gap in our ability to estimate the sensitivity of the biological pump to climate change. In this study, the regional characteristics of the seasonal cycle of phytoplankton biomass in the Southern Ocean are examined in terms of the timing of the bloom initiation, its amplitude, regional scale variability and the importance of the climatological seasonal cycle in explaining the overall variance. The seasonal cycle was consequently defined into four broad zonal regions; the subtropical zone (STZ), the transition zone (TZ), the Antarctic circumpolar zone (ACZ) and the marginal ice zone (MIZ). Defining the Southern Ocean according to the characteristics of its seasonal cycle provides a more dynamic understanding of ocean productivity based on underlying physical drivers rather than climatological biomass. The response of the biology to the underlying physics of the different seasonal zones resulted in an additional classification of four regions based on the extent of inter-annual seasonal phase locking and the magnitude of the integrated seasonal biomass. This regionalisation contributes towards an improved understanding of the regional differences in the sensitivity of the Southern Oceans ecosystem to climate forcing, potentially allowing more robust predictions of the effects of long term climate trends.

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A schematic summarising the response of phytoplankton biomass to the underlying physics of the different seasonal regimes. Regions in blue represent regions of low ( 0.4) (Region A, light blue) or low seasonal cycle reproducibility (R2  0.25 mgm−3) with either high seasonal cycle reproducibility (Region C, dark green) or low seasonal cycle reproducibility (Region D, light green). Mean (1998–2007) frontal positions are shown for the STF (red), the SAF (black), the PF (orange) and the SACCF (blue).

A schematic summarising the response of phytoplankton biomass to the underlying physics of the different seasonal regimes. Regions in blue represent regions of low (< 0.25 mgm−3) chlorophyll concentration with either high seasonal cycle reproducibility (R2 > 0.4) (Region A, light blue) or low seasonal cycle reproducibility (R2 < 0.4) (Region B, dark blue). Regions in green represent regions of high chlorophyll concentration ( > 0.25 mgm−3) with either high seasonal cycle reproducibility (Region C, dark green) or low seasonal cycle reproducibility (Region D, light green). Mean (1998–2007) frontal positions are shown for the STF (red), the SAF (black), the PF (orange) and the SACCF (blue).

Martins, R.S., Roberts, M.J., Chang N., Verley, P., Moloney C.L., Vidal, E.A.G.
Abstract

Specific gravity is an important parameter in the dispersal of marine zooplankton, because the velocity of currents, and therefore the speed of transport, is usually greatest near the surface. For the South African chokka squid (Loligo reynaudii), recruitment is thought to be influenced by the successful transport of paralarvae from the spawning grounds to a food-rich feature known as the cold ridge some 100–200 km away. The role of paralarval specific gravity on such transport is investigated. Specific gravity ranged from 1.0373 to 1.0734 g cm−3 during the yolk-utilization phase, implying that paralarvae are always negatively buoyant, regardless of yolk content. The data were incorporated into a coupled individual-based model (IBM)—Regional Ocean Modelling System model. The output showed that dispersal was dominantly westward towards the cold ridge. Also, modelled paralarval vertical distribution suggested that hydrodynamic turbulence was an important factor in dispersal. The negative buoyancy of early chokka squid paralarvae may reduce the risk of paralarvae being advected off the eastern Agulhas Bank and into the open ocean, where food is less abundant, so specific gravity may be important in enhancing the survival and recruitment of chokka squid.

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Sanders, R., Morris, P. J. , Stinchcombe, M. C. , Charalampopoulou, A., Lucas M., Thomalla S.J.
Abstract

The oceanic biological carbon pump (BCP), a large (10 GT C yr−1) component of the global carbon cycle, is dominated by the sinking (export) of particulate organic carbon (POC) from surface waters. In the deep ocean, strong correlations between downward fluxes of biominerals and POC (the so-called ‘ballast effect’) suggest a potential causal relationship, the nature of which remains uncertain. We show that similar correlations occur in the upper ocean with high rates of export only occurring when biominerals are also exported. Exported particles are generally biomineral rich relative to the upper ocean standing stock, due either to: (1) exported material being formed from the aggregation of a biomineral rich subset of upper ocean particles; or (2) the unfractionated aggregation of the upper ocean particulate pool with respiration then selectively removing POC relative to biominerals until particles are dense enough to sink.

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Figure 4 caption: POC (a) calcite, (b) opal ratios in exported and upper ocean particulate pools at 18 sites in the subpolar, subtropical and tropical Atlantic Ocean. Full symbols are from the AMT study [Thomalla et al., 2008]. Empty symbols are new observations reported here from the Iceland Basin in 2007 (auxiliary material). Note the broken axis required to include all data points.

Figure 4 caption: POC (a) calcite, (b) opal ratios in exported and upper ocean particulate pools at 18 sites in the subpolar, subtropical and tropical Atlantic Ocean. Full symbols are from the AMT study [Thomalla
et al., 2008]. Empty symbols are new observations reported here from the Iceland Basin in 2007 (auxiliary
material). Note the broken axis required to include all data points.

Pollard, R.T., Salter, I.R.J., Lucas M., Moore, C.M., Mills, R.A., Statham, P.J., Allen, J.T., Bakker, D.C.E., Charette, M.A., Fielding, S., Thomalla S.J., Fones, G.R. et al.
Abstract

The addition of iron to high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll regions induces phytoplankton blooms that take up carbon1, 2, 3. Carbon export from the surface layer and, in particular, the ability of the ocean and sediments to sequester carbon for many years remains, however, poorly quantified3. Here we report data from the CROZEX experiment4 in the Southern Ocean, which was conducted to test the hypothesis that the observed north–south gradient in phytoplankton concentrations in the vicinity of the Crozet Islands is induced by natural iron fertilization that results in enhanced organic carbon flux to the deep ocean. We report annual particulate carbon fluxes out of the surface layer, at three kilometres below the ocean surface and to the ocean floor. We find that carbon fluxes from a highly productive, naturally iron-fertilized region of the sub-Antarctic Southern Ocean are two to three times larger than the carbon fluxes from an adjacent high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll area not fertilized by iron. Our findings support the hypothesis that increased iron supply to the glacial sub-Antarctic may have directly enhanced carbon export to the deep ocean5. The CROZEX sequestration efficiency6 (the amount of carbon sequestered below the depth of winter mixing for a given iron supply) of 8,600molmol-1 was 18 times greater than that of a phytoplankton bloom induced artificially by adding iron7, but 77 times smaller than that of another bloom8 initiated, like CROZEX, by a natural supply of iron. Large losses of purposefully added iron can explain the lower efficiency of the induced bloom6. The discrepancy between the blooms naturally supplied with iron may result in part from an underestimate of horizontal iron supply.

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Chlorophyll a images of Crozet region. a, Chlorophyll a in October for the whole of the Southern Ocean, showing location of Crozet. Colour indicates concentration as shown in b. b, Merged SeaWiFS/MODIS chlorophyll a image for the eight-day peak bloom period 23–30 October 2004. Solid and dashed lines show mean and eddy circulations, respectively13, with the sub-Antarctic Front (SAF, the northern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current) and the Agulhas Return Current (ARC) shown bold. Main sampling (1) and coring (N) sites are labelled. Thin white lines are the 2,000-m depth contour, with the main Crozet Islands (Iˆle de la Possession, I ˆ le de l’Est) seen at 46.5u S, 52u E.

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