Physical controls on dissolved inorganic radiocarbon variability in the California Current
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Physical controls on dissolved inorganic radiocarbon variability in the California Current

  • Author(s): Masiello, Caroline A
  • Druffel, Ellen R.M.
  • Bauer, James E
  • et al.
Abstract

We present depth profiles of Δ14C and δ 13C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) at Station M in the Eastern North Pacific. Several seasonal profiles are presented for the time period between 1991 and 1996. Comparison with GEOSECS data clearly shows changes in ocean radiocarbon profiles since 1973. The Δ14C of DIC shows the most variability at depths of 450, 85, and 25 m, and the lowest variability at depths of 1600 and 2500 m. The largest variability in DIC Δ14C occurs at 450 m, a depth marked by large fluctuations in the radiocarbon signatures of the source waters. The likely controls of DIC Δ14C variability are physical changes in the circulation of the California Current System. A simple two-box model is used to show the importance of wind driven mixing at the surface. We discuss the likely effects of mesoscale eddies and ENSO on the DIC Δ14C values at this site. We also show that remineralization of organic carbon (dissolved or particulate) is not responsible for the variability in the Δ14C of DIC observed at Station M.

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