Dissolved organic carbon in the Atlantic, Southern and Pacific oceans

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Martin, J. H., & Fitzwater, S. E. (1992). Dissolved organic carbon in the Atlantic, Southern and Pacific oceans. Nature, 356(6371), 699-704.
TitleDissolved organic carbon in the Atlantic, Southern and Pacific oceans
AuthorsJ. Martin, S. Fitzwater
AbstractThe amount of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in sea water is controversial 1,2. Using a high-temperature catalytic oxidation (HTCO) technique, Sugimura and Suzuki 3 reported that surface waters contained 2-4 times as much DOC as that measured previously using wet chemistry and ultraviolet oxidation techniques 4,5. They also observed a relationship between DOC content and apparent oxygen utilization suggesting that the consumption of DOC is responsible for oxygen depletion in the deep sea. How to reconcile the apparent differences between these techniques has not been clear. Here we provide independent confirmation of the findings of Sugimura and Suzuki. We collected surface and deep waters from the equatorial Pacific Ocean, the Drake passage and the Atlantic Ocean south of Iceland, and analysed their DOC content using the HTCO methodology 3. We found DOC concentrations 2-3 times higher than those measured previously. These results imply that the carbon content of the oceans has previously been underestimated by 10 12 (1,000 billion) tonnes, and that the new estimated total of 1,800 billion tonnes represents one of the largest carbon reservoirs on Earth 6. We found no evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between DOC and apparent oxygen utilization.
Start page699
End page704
Subjectscarbon, catalytic oxidation, dissolved organic carbon, oxygen, Lateolabrax japonicus
NoteCited By (since 1996):35, Oceanography, CODEN: NATUA