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Anthropogenic and natural CO2 exchange through the Strait of Gibraltar

Author(s): I. E. Huertas | A. F. Ríos | J. García-Lafuente | A. Makaoui | S. Rodríguez-Gálvez | A. Sánchez-Román | A. Orbi | J. Ruíz | F. F. Pérez

Journal: Biogeosciences Discussions
ISSN 1810-6277

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1021;
Date: 2009;
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The exchange of both anthropogenic and natural inorganic carbon between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea through Strait of Gibraltar was studied for a period of two years under the frame of the CARBOOCEAN project. A comprehensive sampling program was conducted, which was design to collect samples at eight fixed stations located in the Strait in successive cruises periodically distributed through the year in order to ensure a good spatial and temporal coverage. As a result of this monitoring, a time series namely GIFT (GIbraltar Fixed Time series) has been established, allowing the generation of an extensive data set of the carbon system parameters in the area. Data acquired during the development of nine campaigns were analyzed in this work. Total inorganic carbon concentration (CT) was calculated from alkalinity-pHT pairs and appropriate thermodynamic relationships, with the concentration of anthropogenic carbon (CANT) being also computed. Applying a two-layer model of water mass exchange through the Strait and using the transport of the outflowing Mediterranean water recorded in situ during the considered period, a net export of inorganic carbon from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic was obtained, which amounted to 0.025 Pg C yr−1. In contrast, the Atlantic water was found to contain a higher concentration of anthropogenic carbon than the Mediterranean water, resulting in a net flux of CANT towards the Mediterranean basin of 4.2 Tg C yr−1. A carbon balance through the Strait was assessed and fluxes are discussed in relation to the highly diverse estimates available in the literature for the area. This work unequivocally confirms the relevant role of the Strait of Gibraltar as a controlling point for the biogeochemical exchanges occurring between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and emphasizes the influence of the Mediterranean basin in the carbon inventories of the North Atlantic.

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