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Carbon export and fate beneath a dynamic upwelled filament off the California coast


To understand the vertical variations in carbon fluxes in biologically productive waters, four autonomous carbon flux explorers (CFEs), ship-lowered CTD-interfaced particle-sensitive transmissometer and scattering sensors, and surface-drogued sediment traps were deployed in a filament of offshore flowing, recently upwelled water, during the June 2017 California Current Ecosystem-Long Term Ecological Research process study. The Lagrangian CFEs operating at depths from 100-500 m yielded carbon flux and its partitioning with size from 30 μ m-1 cm at three intensive study locations within the filament and in waters outside the filament. Size analysis codes intended to enable long-term CFE operations independent of ships are described. Different particle classes (anchovy pellets, copepod pellets, and > 1000 μ m aggregates) dominated the 100-150 m fluxes during successive stages of the filament evolution as it progressed offshore. Fluxes were very high at all locations in the filament; below 150 m, flux was invariant or increased with depth at the two locations closer to the coast. Martin curve bfactors (± denotes 95 % confidence intervals) for total particulate carbon flux were + 0.37 ± 0.59, + 0.85 ± 0.31,-0.24 ± 0.68, and-0.45 ± 0.70 at the three successively occupied locations within the plume, and in transitional waters. Interestingly, the flux profiles for all particles < 400 μ m were a much closer fit to the canonical Martin profile (b-0.86); however, most (typically > 90 %) of the particle flux was carried by > 1000 μ m sized aggregates which increased with depth. Mechanisms to explain the factor of 3 flux increase between 150 and 500 m at the mid-plume location are investigated.

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