Source-related variables for the description of the oceanic carbon system
2014 (English)In: Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, ISSN 1525-2027, Vol. 15, no 9, 3675-3687 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The oceanic carbon system is commonly described in terms of the two state variables total carbon, DIC, and alkalinity, Alk. Here we suggest the use of alternative source adapted state variables, Acidic Carbon, AC and Basic Carbon, BC, defined by and related to (DIC, Alk) with a simple linear transformation. (AC, BC) can be interpreted as representing respectively the supply to the system of carbon dioxide and dissolved carbonate, keeping in mind that supply of hydrogen ions acts to transform from basic carbon to acidic carbon. Accordingly these variables tell us how much carbon dioxide or dissolved carbonate we actually have in the water, despite the fact that the major part of the carbon resides in bicarbonate ions. We claim that using these source-related variables as a compliment to the traditional variables, offers a number of advantages in the formulation of continuity equations, as well as in the interpretation of observations and modeling results. The traditional definition of alkalinity is related to a measuring procedure rather than to the supply of material to the system. Here we demonstrate that alkalinity, though defined in the traditional way, may be interpreted in terms of sources and sinks acting on the system. In the case of ocean water this amounts to twice the supply of dissolved carbonate minus the net supply of free hydrogen ions. We argue that this interpretation is a useful complement to the traditional definition. Every process that affects the state of the carbon system may be quantified in terms of supply of carbon dioxide, F-a, carbonate ions, F-b, or hydrogen ions, E.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 15, no 9, 3675-3687 p.
carbon system, ocean
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110144DOI: 10.1002/2014GC005383ISI: 000343970900011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-110144DiVA: diva2:771501