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Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics

Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics

Jorge L. Sarmiento
Nicolas Gruber
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 526
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  • Book Info
    Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics
    Book Description:

    Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics provides a broad theoretical framework upon which graduate students and upper-level undergraduates can formulate an understanding of the processes that control the mean concentration and distribution of biologically utilized elements and compounds in the ocean. Though it is written as a textbook, it will also be of interest to more advanced scientists as a wide-ranging synthesis of our present understanding of ocean biogeochemical processes.

    The first two chapters of the book provide an introductory overview of biogeochemical and physical oceanography. The next four chapters concentrate on processes at the air-sea interface, the production of organic matter in the upper ocean, the remineralization of organic matter in the water column, and the processing of organic matter in the sediments. The focus of these chapters is on analyzing the cycles of organic carbon, oxygen, and nutrients.

    The next three chapters round out the authors' coverage of ocean biogeochemical cycles with discussions of silica, dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity, and CaCO3. The final chapter discusses applications of ocean biogeochemistry to our understanding of the role of the ocean carbon cycle in interannual to decadal variability, paleoclimatology, and the anthropogenic carbon budget. The problem sets included at the end of each chapter encourage students to ask critical questions in this exciting new field. While much of the approach is mathematical, the math is at a level that should be accessible to students with a year or two of college level mathematics and/or physics.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4907-9
    Subjects: Biological Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Jorge L. Sarmiento and Nicolas Gruber
  2. Chapter 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    This book is about the distribution of chemical elements in the sea and the processes that control it. We address the questions: What controls the mean abundance of the elements? What controls their variation in space? What controls changes in time (for example during ice ages)? The primary focus is on those elements for which “biological processes” is part of the answer, the main example naturally being carbon. The whole subject is in a state of active research, and this book will highlight important growing points. It will concentrate more on how we know than on what, thereby introducing readers...

  3. Chapter 2 Tracer Conservation and Ocean Transport
    (pp. 19-72)

    The tracer conservation equation establishes the relationship between the time rate of change of tracer concentration at a given point and the processes that can change that concentration. These processes include water transport by advection and mixing, and sources and sinks due to biological and chemical transformations. This book is dedicated primarily to a study of the sources and sinks due to biological and chemical transformations. However, we begin our study in this chapter with a derivation of the conservation equation, including the transport terms, accompanied by an overview of ocean circulation. The ocean circulation overview begins with a discussion...

  4. Chapter 3 Air-Sea Interface
    (pp. 73-101)

    Having introduced the tracer conservation equation and discussed ocean transport, we now consider the processes at the air-sea and ocean bottom interfaces and biogeochemical processes internal to the ocean that need to be specified to solve for the tracer distributions. This chapter discusses gas exchange at the air-sea interface. This exchange has a major impact on the distribution of gases within both the ocean and the atmosphere. The first section of this chapter introduces the major gases in the atmosphere and ocean. We then discuss the solubility of gases in seawater, and the processes at the air-sea interface that control...

  5. Chapter 4 Organic Matter Production
    (pp. 102-172)

    Were it not for the biological pump, the distribution of most chemicals in the ocean would be as uniform as that of salinity. Indeed, ocean circulation and mixing continually drive the distribution of chemicals toward just such a uniform distribution. The biological pump resists this tendency by stripping nutrients and carbon out of surface waters to form organic matter, by exporting this organic matter into the thermocline and deep ocean where the majority of it is remineralized, and by delivering the remainder to the sediments where most is remineralized and some is buried. At the surface of the ocean the...

  6. Chapter 5 Organic Matter Export and Remineralization
    (pp. 173-226)

    In the previous chapter we examined the uptake of nutrients to form organic matter by organisms in near-surface waters of the ocean. We saw that this uptake forces surface nitrate and phosphate to very low concentrations over almost the entire world ocean. It also reduces the surface concentration of total carbon and alkalinity, as well as having an impact on the surface concentration of micronutrients and many trace metals. We now examine the fate of organic matter that is exported from the surface. We will see that the majority of the organic matter exported is remineralized within the upper few...

  7. Chapter 6 Remineralization and Burial in the Sediments
    (pp. 227-269)

    About a quarter of the organic matter that is exported from the surface of the ocean escapes remineralization in the water column and rains onto the sediments. Our objective in this chapter is to examine the processes in the sediments that determine the fate of this organic matter, whether it is remineralized or lost to long-term burial, and how these sediment processes affect and are affected by the distribution of properties in the water column.

    More than 90% of the organic matter that rains onto the sediments is remineralized. We will see that we have a good understanding of how...

  8. Chapter 7 Silicate Cycle
    (pp. 270-317)

    In previous chapters, we discussed biogeochemical processes at the air-sea interface, in the euphotic zone, in the interior of the ocean, and in the sediments. As we worked our way from the top to the bottom of the water column, we examined the impact of the processes occurring in each of these zones on the distribution of organic matter, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus. In this chapter and the next two we apply the basic tools we have developed to a system analysis of the entire oceanic cycle of the two remaining major elements involved in biogeochemical processes, namely silicon and...

  9. Chapter 8 Carbon Cycle
    (pp. 318-358)

    Having completed our first grand tour of ocean biogeochemical cycles by reviewing and discussing the oceanic cycling of silicate, we are now ready to assess the marine carbon cycle, one of the most important and also most fascinating biogeochemical cycles in the ocean. In discussing this cycle, we will need to employ all the concepts that have been introduced and discussed in the previous chapters. In this chapter we will study how the marine carbon cycle works and how this cycle is connected with the atmospheric CO2 concentration. We will see that the oceans contain approximately 60 times more carbon...

  10. Chapter 9 Calcium Carbonate Cycle
    (pp. 359-391)

    Mineral calcium carbonates (CaCO3), which occur in the ocean mainly in the form of calcite, represent a significant fraction of deep ocean sediments, and belong to the most common minerals on Earth’s surface. Most mineral CaCO3 that is found at the bottom of the ocean is actually formed by organisms living in near-surface waters. The contribution of abiotic precipitation in today’s ocean is virtually zero, despite the fact that near-surface waters are supersaturated with respect to mineral CaCO3. The high relative contribution of CaCO3 to open ocean sediments is a direct consequence of the observed fact that about half of...

  11. Chapter 10 Carbon Cycle, CO2, and Climate
    (pp. 392-458)

    Throughout most of this book, our discussions have focused on the steady-state characteristics of the cycles of biogeochemically important elements in the ocean. However, as more about the past behavior of these cycles was learned, we have to come to realize that these cycles have seldom been in a “true” steady state. It appears that variability is as much a fundamental property of these biogeochemical cycles as it is a property of the climate system in general (see discussion in section 2.5). In this last chapter, we explore the variability of these cycles on a range of timescales, from a...