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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Constraining the propagation of bomb-radiocarbon through the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) pool in the northeast Pacific Ocean

  • Author(s): Beaupré, Steven R
  • Druffel, Ellen R.M.
  • et al.

This study extends the 1991-1995 records of marine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations and Δ14C values at hydrographic Station M (34°50′N, 123°00′W) with new measurements from a frozen (-20 °C) archive of samples collected between April 1998 and October 2004. The magnitudes and synchronicity of major Δ14C anomalies throughout the time-series imply transport of DOC from the surface ocean to depths of at least 450 m on the timescale of months. Keeling plots of all measurements at Station M predict a continuum of possible background DOC compositions containing at least 21 μM of -1000‰ (i.e., ≥57,000 14C years) DOC, but are more consistent with mean deep DOC (38 μM, -549‰; i.e., ∼6,400 14C years). These results and coral records of surface dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) Δ14C were used to estimate pre-bomb DOC Δ14C depth profiles. The combined results indicate that bomb-14C has penetrated the DOC pool to depths of ≥450 m, though the signal at that depth is obscured by short-term variability.

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