Spatial and temporal variability of seawater pCO2 within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Baffin Bay during the summer and autumn 2011

New publication by N.X. Geilfus, M.L. Pind, B.G.T. Else, R.J. Galley, L.A. Miller, H. Thomas, M. Gosselin, S. Rysgaard, F. Wang, T.N. Papakyriakou

2018.03.08 | Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen

Photo: Søren Rysgaard


The partial pressure of CO2 in surface water (pCO2sw) measured within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) and Baffin Bay was highly variable with values ranging from strongly undersaturated (118 µatm) to slightly supersaturated (419 µatm) with respect to the atmospheric levels (~386 μatm) during summer and autumn 2011. During summer, melting sea ice contributed to cold and fresh surface water and enhanced the ice-edge bloom, resulting in strong pCO2sw undersaturation. Coronation Gulf was the only area with supersaturated pCO2sw, likely due to warm CO2-enriched freshwater input from the Coppermine River. During autumn, the entire CAA (including Coronation Gulf) was undersaturated, despite generally increasing pCO2sw. Coronation Gulf was the one place where pCO2sw decreased, likely due to seasonal reduction in discharge from the Coppermine River and the decreasing sea surface temperature. The seasonal summer-to-autumn increase in pCO2sw across the archipelago is attributed in part to the continuous uptake of atmospheric CO2 through both summer and autumn and to the seasonal deepening of the surface mixed layer, bringing CO2-rich waters to the surface. These observations demonstrate how freshwater from sea ice melt and rivers affect pCO2sw differently. The general pCO2sw undersaturation during summer-autumn 2011 throughout the CAA and Baffin Bay give an estimated net oceanic sink for atmospheric CO2 over the study period of 11.4 mmol CO2 m−2 d−1, assuming no sea-air CO2 flux exchange across the sea-ice covered areas.


Continental Shelf Research. Volume 156, 15 March 2018, Pages

Arctic Research Centre