The response of inorganic carbon distributions and dynamics to upwelling-favorable winds on the northern Gulf of Mexico during summer Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Upwelling-favorable winds and an offshore-distributed Mississippi and Atchafalaya River plume trajectory were observed in summer 2009 in contrast to the mean conditions from 2002 to 2010 (upwelling-unfavorable winds and an alongshore river plume trajectory), a set of conditions which was also observed in summer 2007. The responses of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) distributions and dynamics to upwelling-favorable winds are studied by comparing the contrasting conditions between summer 2009 and summer 2007 on the northern Gulf of Mexico. Patterns of surface water partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2), DIC, 13C in DIC, and total alkalinity (TA) determined in July 2009 and August 2007 were strongly related to river plume trajectories, and differed between the two summers.The slope of the relationship between dissolved oxygen (DO) and DIC in summer 2007 was comparable to the Redfield O/C ratio of 1.3, which was attributed to respiration of organic matter in the bottom water. The slope of the DO and DIC relationship and 13CDIC values in bottom waters during July 2009 were clearly affected by mixing since their salinities were <35. A three end-member mixing model was used to remove mixing effects in (1) 13CDIC, to estimate the organic source of respiration, and (2) in DIC concentrations, to calculate DIC removal and release. 13CDIC results in both summers were consistent with an apparent release of DIC in hypoxic waters (DO less than 2 mg L-1) associated with respiration of surface organic matter. The area-weighted surface DIC removal (i.e., biological production) was lower in 2009 than in 2007 on the shelf, as the plume was distributed offshore. The release of DIC in bottom waters was higher over the shelf in 2009 and was surmised to be related to stronger mixing, which was favorable for the DO supply for respiration. Overall, surface waters on the continental shelf in the region of study in July 2009 acted as a weak CO2 source to the atmosphere, but a weak CO2 sink in August 2007. We contend that the inorganic carbon distribution and concentrations on the shelf were related to regional wind forcing, through its influence on the distribution of coastal currents and plume trajectories and their subsequent impact on biogeochemical processes.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Huang, W., Cai, W., Wang, Y., Hu, X., Chen, B., Lohrenz, S. E., ... Hopkinson, C. S.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Huang, W-J||Cai, W-J||Wang, Y||Hu, X||Chen, B||Lohrenz, SE||Chakraborty, S||He, R||Brandes, J||Hopkinson, CS

publication date

  • December 2015