Biogeochemical evidence of vigorous mixing in the abyssal ocean

Lampitt, Richard S., Popova, Ekaterina E. and Tyrrell, Toby (2003) Biogeochemical evidence of vigorous mixing in the abyssal ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, 30, (9), 1459-1462. (doi:10.1029/2002GL016638).


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The metabolic activities of biological communities living at the abyssal seabed create a strong source of nutrients and a sink for oxygen. If the published estimates of vertical mixing based on instantaneous microstructure measurements are correct, near to the abyssal seabed away from rough topographic features there should be enhanced concentrations of nitrate and phosphate and depletion of oxygen. Recent data on the vertical concentration profiles of inorganic nutrients and oxygen over the bottom 1000 m of the water column (World Ocean Circulation Experiment - WOCE) provide no such evidence. It is concluded that the effective vertical mixing rates are much more vigorous than previously indicated and may even be higher than estimates of average basin scale rates based on temperature and salinity distributions. We propose that the enhanced mixing associated with rough topography influences the entire volume of the abyssal ocean on short time scales (e.g., one month - one year).

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1029/2002GL016638
ISSNs: 0094-8276 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: woce, abyssobenthic zone, biogeochemistry, vertical mixing, metabolism, aquatic communities, geology, biology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > National Oceanography Centre (NERC)
ePrint ID: 1958
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
3 May 2003Published
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2004
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:09

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