Sea surface carbon dioxide at the Georgia time series site (2006-2007): Air-sea flux and controlling processes Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO 2 ) in surface seawater was continuously recorded every three hours from 18 July 2006 through 31 October 2007 using a moored autonomous pCO 2 (MAPCO 2 ) system deployed on the Gray's Reef buoy off the coast of Georgia, USA. Surface water pCO 2 (average 37352 atm) showed a clear seasonal pattern, undersaturated with respect to the atmosphere in cold months and generally oversaturated in warm months. High temporal resolution observations revealed important events not captured in previous ship-based observations, such as sporadically occurring biological CO 2 uptake during April-June 2007. In addition to a qualitative analysis of the primary drivers of pCO 2 variability based on property regressions, we quantified contributions of temperature, air-sea exchange, mixing, and biological processes to monthly pCO 2 variations using a 1-D mass budget model. Although temperature played a dominant role in the annual cycle of pCO 2 , river inputs especially in the wet season, biological respiration in peak summer, and biological production during April-June 2007 also substantially influenced seawater pCO 2 . Furthermore, sea surface pCO 2 was higher in September-October 2007 than in September-October 2006, associated with increased river inputs in fall 2007. On an annual basis this site was a moderate atmospheric CO 2 sink, and was autotrophic as revealed by monthly mean net community production (NCP) in the mixed layer. If the sporadic short productive events during April-May 2007 were missed by the sampling schedule, one would conclude erroneously that the site is heterotrophic. While previous ship-based pCO 2 data collected around this buoy site agreed with the buoy CO 2 data on seasonal scales, high resolution buoy observations revealed that the cruise-based surveys undersampled temporal variability in coastal waters, which could greatly bias the estimates of air-sea CO 2 fluxes or annual NCP, and even produce contradictory results.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Xue, L., Cai, W., Hu, X., Sabine, C., Jones, S., Sutton, A. J., Jiang, L., & Reimer, J. J.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Xue, Liang||Cai, Wei-Jun||Hu, Xinping||Sabine, Christopher||Jones, Stacy||Sutton, Adrienne J||Jiang, Li-Qing||Reimer, Janet J

publication date

  • January 2016