A new vision of ocean biogeochemistry after a decade of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS)

A new vision of ocean biogeochemistry after a decade of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS)
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  A JOURNAL OF THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT  JOINT GLOBAL OCEAN FLUX S TUDY (JGOFS)Phytoplankton Production and Food Web Processes • Carbon Dioxide Exchange andBiogeochemical Cycles • Deep Ocean-Carbon Export (Biological Pump) •Ecosystem Variabilityand Climate Change • Ecosystem, Biogeochemical and Ocean Carbon Models SPECIAL REPORT NUMBER 10, MAY 2001 ISSN 0044-7447  AMBIO A JOURNAL OF THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT SPECIAL REPORT NUMBER 10, MAY 2001 EDITORIAL POLICY AMBIO was founded in 1972, theyear of the first UN-Conference onthe environment which was held inStockholm, Sweden.AMBIO is owned and adminis-tered by the Royal SwedishAcademy of Sciences and run on anonprofit basisThe growing interest in the sus-tainable use of natural resourcesand a general awareness of globalchange issues has led to increasedinterest in environmental researchand a need for published informa-tion on the subjects involved.AMBIO aims to serve the impor-tant function of putting into per-spective significant developmentsin environmental research, policyand related activities, and to reachspecialists, generalists, students,decision-makers and interestedlaymen around the world with thisinformation. 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The opinions ex-pressed in this publication are thoseof the authors and do not necessarilyreflect the views of the RoyalSwedish Academy of Sciences.Queries, requests for Instruc-tions to Authors , correspondenceand requests for single copiesshould be addressed to the Edito-rial Office:AMBIORoyal Swedish Academyof SciencesBox 50005S-104 05 Stockholm, SWEDENTelephone: (+ 46 8) 673 95 00Direct telephone:(+ 46 8) 15 47 44)Telefax: (+ 46 8) 16 62 51E.mail: elisabet@ambio.kva.sehttp://www.ambio.kva.seAMBIO is indexed by the follow-ing data bases: Biol. Abstr.,Chem. Abstr., Curr. Cont., Eng.Ind., Excerp. Med., Ocean.Abstr., Pollut. Abstr., Sci. Cit.Ind., Abstr. Hyg., Fut. Surv.,Food Sci. & Tech. Abstr., Forest.Abstr., Forest Prod. Abstr., Geo.Abstr., Geo Ref., Key Word Ind.,Wildl. Res., Risk Abstr., SageUrb. Stud. Abstr., Sel. Water Res.Abstr., Trop. Dis. Bull., AESIS,Acid Rain Abstr., Acid Rain Ind.,ASSIA, C.I.S. Abstr., Environ.Abstr., Environ. Ind., Ind. Sci.Rev., Sage Fam. Stud. 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Abstr.,ASFA.AMBIO is reviewed by theSwedish-International Press Bu-reau (SIP).  Editor-in-Chief: ELISABETH KESSLER Production Editor:  FLORENCE HENEBY Science Editor:  BJÖRN GANNING, Ph.D., Prof.  Layout: LEIF FLINK Associate Editors Ingemar Ahlgren, Ph.D.,Professor of Limnology,Uppsala University Olof Andrén, Ph.D., Professor in SoilBiology/Agriculture, SwedishUniversity of Agricultural Sciences,Uppsala Carl Christiansson, Ph.D.,Professorof Physical Geography,StockholmUniversity Marianne Clarholm,  Ph.D., Professorin Applied Soil Ecology, SwedishUniversity of Agricultural Sciences,Uppsala Malin Falkenmark , Ph.D., Professorof International Hydrology, NaturalScience Research Council, Stockholm Peter Högberg,  Ph.D., Professor inForest Science, Swedish Universityof Agricultural Sciences, Umeå Börje Karlsson , Ph.D., Assoc. Prof.,Institute of Zoophysiology,University of Lund Karl-Gustaf Löfgren,  Ph.D., Pro-fessor of Economics, Umeå Univer-sity Stellan Marklund, Ph.D., Environ-mentalChemistry, Umeå University Kevin J. Noone, Ph.D.,Professorof Meteorology, Stockholm University Claes Ramel, Ph.D., Professor of Toxicological Genetics, StockholmUniversity Lars Reuterswärd, Ph.D., Professorof Architecture and DevelopmentStudies, Lund University David Turner, Ph.D., Professor of Marine Chemistry, GothenburgUniversity 2001 Subscription prices (7 issues; one double issue) including airmail postage  AmericasAll other countries Personal  US$65.00  EURO60.00Institutional  US$190.00  EURO175.002-years institutional (2001/2002)  US$357.00  EURO350.00 Copyright  © Royal SwedishAcademy of Sciences. All rightsreserved.AMBIO (ISSN 0044-7447) ispublished monthly except forJanuary, April, July and Octoberby the Royal Swedish Academyof Sciences, Box 50005, S-104 05Stockholm, Sweden and distrib-uted by Allen Press Inc. fromAMBIO, 810 East 10th St.,Lawrence, KS 66044, USA.Periodical postage paid atLawrence, KS.AMBIO is printed byMediaPrint, Uddevalla ABUddevalla, SwedenISSN 0044-7447.POSTMASTER: Send addresschanges to AMBIO,P.O. Box 1897, Lawrence, KS66044-8897, USA. Cover Photo: JGOFS sampling in waters covered with pancake ice, PrydzBay, Antarctica (67S 75E), during the early summer.Samples were collected from the icebreaker RSV AuroraAustralis for the measurement of carbon, nutrients andphytoplankton pigments.Photo: Bronte Tilbrook, CSIRO Marine Research, Australia. Executive Board Responsible Editor for Ambio underSwedish law, Chairman of theExecutive Board Erling Norrby Secretary GeneralRoyal Swedish Academy of Sciences Elisabeth Kessler Ambio Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Kai-Inge Hillerud Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Carl-Olof Jacobson Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Henning Rodhe Department of MeteorologyStockholm University Nils Malmer Plant EcologyLund University Co-opted representative from: The Swedish InternationalDevelopment Agency (Sida) Editorial Board Gustaf Arrhenius Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California, San Diego Paul Crutzen Max-Planck-Institut für ChemieAbt. Chemie der Atmosphäre Carl Folke Department for Systems EcologyStockholm University Arne Henriksen Norwegian Institute for WaterResearch (NIVA) Hans Hurni Centre for Development andEnvironment (CDE) Don Mackay Trent UniversityEnvironmental Modelling CentreEnvironmental and Resource Studies Jeffrey A. McNeely IUCN Mohan Munasinghe University of Colombo Frank Wania University of Toronto Li Wenhua Institute of Geographic sciences andNatural Resources Research.Chinese Academy of Sciences Alexander J.B. Zehnder Swiss Federal Institute forEnvironmentalScience and Technology (EAWAG) Tomas Zylicz Warsaw Ecological Economics CenterEconomics DepartmentWarsaw University  3 AMBIO SPECIAL REPORT 10, MAY 2001© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2001 L ittle was known about the role of the ocean in the globalcarbon cycle during the first half of the 20th century. Althoughearth scientists were aware that the ocean carbon reservoir wasabout 60 times that of the atmosphere, a system-level understand-ing of the ocean carbon cycle had not yet emerged. A few vi-sionaries expressed concerns about the potential effect of fossilfuel emissions on atmospheric temperature. But it was not untilthe late 1950s and the International Geophysical Year that sci-entists made a concerted effort to assess the influence of humanactivities on atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) levels and thuson global temperature. Atmospheric time-series measurements,begun in 1958 at the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawaii, began toshow thought-provoking seasonal cycles and increasing concen-trations of CO 2  in the atmosphere.During the 1950s, scientists began to measure primary produc-tion in the ocean using carbon-14 isotopes and to make new glo-bal estimates based on the results. Their numbers (20–50 Pg Cyr –1 ) were much lower than earlier ones based on bottle mea-surements of dissolved oxygen in the ocean (50–130 Pg C yr –1 ).The global primary productivity maps that followed in the 1960sand 1970s conveyed the message that the temperate and subtropi-cal ocean basins had much smaller phytoplankton populationsand experienced much less seasonal and interannual variabilitythan either the continental margins or the polar regions. Tem-poral and spatial variability in these vast ocean regions first be-came known from ocean time-series work in the 1960s and fromthe observations made by the satellite-borne Coastal Zone ColorScanner in the late 1970s and early 1980s.With the steady annual increase in atmospheric CO 2  establishedby the time-series measurements at Mauna Loa, scientists de-termined that roughly half of the fossil fuel emissions were re-maining in the atmosphere. Other studies indicated that the oceanwas absorbing a good part of the remaining anthropogenic CO 2 .About the same time, palaeontologists and geochemists mea-suring the inorganic carbon chemistry of deep glacial ice coresdiscovered that atmospheric CO 2  levels varied in phase withwarm and cold eras in the earth’s history. This discovery led tospeculation as to which biogeochemical and physical processesin the ocean and on land contributed to the dramatic changes inCO 2  levels in the atmosphere.Two later discoveries shattered the long-standing view that sea-sonal changes did not affect the deep ocean. One was that deep-sea organisms exhibited seasonal growth patterns, and the otherwas that particle export into the deep ocean, captured in sedi-ment traps, followed the seasonal cycles of primary productiv-ity in surface waters. These observations linked the rapid bio-logical processes that govern fixation of carbon in the upperocean with the slow physical circulation that ventilates the deepwaters and the chemical transformations that occur there. Thesimultaneous publication of several papers describing the roleof ocean biological and physical processes in the regulation of atmospheric CO 2  set the stage for the two large, synthetic oceanstudies of the late 1980s and 1990s, the World Ocean Circula-tion Experiment (WOCE) and the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study(JGOFS).Climatologists, geochemists, oceanographers and ecologistsagreed that a concerted effort to study earth systems was neededto address the growing concern about global warming. By themid-1980s, several mesoscale ocean programs had been success-fully completed, new satellite technology was emerging, and sci-entists were addressing questions about ocean biogeochemicalcycles, increases in anthropogenic CO 2  in the atmosphere, glo-bal warming and environmental change. With the establishmentof the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP),planners developed a framework for envisioning interdisci-plinary research in the context of earth systems science.It took a combination of concern about environmental change,technological advances, and political will, expressed in newfunding commitments, to reach this point.An international and multidisciplinary program with participantsfrom more than 30 nations, JGOFS was launched in 1987 at aplanning meeting in Paris under the auspices of the ScientificCommittee of Oceanic Research (SCOR), a committee of the In-ternational Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). The SCOR re-port that followed provided the scientific justification, goals andobjectives, organizational structure and recommended researchactivities for an ocean biogeochemical observing program(JGOFS Report No. 5, Science Plan , August 1990).Two years later, JGOFS became one of the first core projectsof the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP).Long-term time-series projects were begun at sites near Bermudaand Hawaii in the fall of 1988. With leadership from scientificcommittees in Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, theUnited Kingdom and the United States, the North Atlantic BloomExperiment (NABE), a multinational pilot study for future proc-ess-study projects in other ocean basins, got underway the fol-lowing spring. The launching of JGOFS research with NABEreflected the impetus provided by data from satellite-mountedinstruments and deep sediment traps, both of which identifiedhigh-latitude blooms as conspicuous features of the ocean bio-sphere.The following pages outline the progress of JGOFS from its pre-liminary pilot study to comprehensive observations and model-ling studies worldwide. JGOFS achievements point the way to-ward an integrated understanding of the role of ocean ecology,circulation and carbon cycling in the whole earth system.  Roger B. Hanson Executive Director  JGOFS International Project Office Bergen, Norway January 2001 Introduction to the Joint Global OceanFlux Study (JGOFS)  4 © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2001AMBIO SPECIAL REPORT 10, MAY 2001 The Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) has completed adecade of intensive process and time-series studies on the re-gional and temporal dynamics of biogeochemical processes infive diverse ocean basins. Its field program also included a glo-bal survey of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the ocean, in-cluding estimates of the exchange of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) be-tween the ocean and the atmosphere, in cooperation with theWorld Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE).This report describes the principal achievements of JGOFS inocean observations, technology development and modelling. Thestudy has produced a comprehensive and high-quality databaseof measurements of ocean biogeochemical properties. Data ontemporal and spatial changes in primary production and CO 2  ex-change, the dynamics of of marine food webs, and the availabil-ity of micronutrients have yielded new insights into what gov-erns ocean productivity, carbon cycling and export into the deepocean, the set of processes collectively known as the “biologi-cal pump.”With large-scale, high-quality data sets for the partial pres-sure of CO 2  in surface waters as well for other DIC parametersin the ocean and trace gases in the atmosphere, reliable estimates,maps and simulations of air-sea gas flux, anthropogenic carbonand inorganic carbon export are now available. JGOFS scien-tists have also obtained new insights into the export flux of particulate and dissolved organic carbon (POC and DOC), thevariations that occur in the ratio of elements in organic matter,and the utilization and remineralization of organic matter as itfalls through the ocean interior to the sediments.JGOFS scientists have amassed long-term data on temporalvariability in the exchange of CO 2  between the ocean and at-mosphere, ecosystem dynamics, and carbon export in theoligotrophic subtropical gyres. They have documented stronglinks between these variables and large-scale climate patternssuch as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or the NorthAtlantic Oscillation (NAO). An increase in the abundance of or-ganisms that fix free nitrogen (N 2 ) and a shift in nutrient limita-tion from nitrogen to phosphorus in the subtropical North Pa-cific provide evidence of the effects of a decade of strong ElNiños on ecosystem structure and nutrient dynamics.High-quality data sets, including ocean-color observationsfrom satellites, have helped modellers make great strides in theirability to simulate the biogeochemical and physical constraintson the ocean carbon cycle and to extend their results from thelocal to the regional and global scales. Ocean carbon-cycle mod-els, when coupled to atmospheric and terrestrial models, willmake it possible in the future to predict ways in which land andocean ecosystems might respond to changes in climate. INTRODUCTION During the 12 years since its first field studies were launched,the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) has amassed a dataset of unprecedented scope and detail that is yielding newinsights into old questions about the role of the ocean in the glo-bal cycling of carbon. The JGOFS decade has coincided withand contributed to the blossoming of ocean biogeochemistry asa discipline with a focus on the linkages among physical, bio-logical and chemical factors in the production, transport andtransformations of carbon and other biogenic elements in theocean.A comprehensive and quantitative understanding of the waythe ocean carbon cycle functions is essential to our ability to pre-dict the consequences of rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO 2 )and other “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere. The importanceof the ocean in the natural regulation of atmospheric CO 2  levelswas recognized more than 60 years ago. However, lack of datafrom many regions and the difficulty of making precise and ac-curate measurements have, until recently, hampered calculationsof the distribution and amounts of carbon in various forms inthe ocean and the exchange of CO 2  with the atmosphere. Con- Michael J. R. Fasham, Beatriz M. Baliño and Margaret C. Bowles (Editors) Contributors: Robert Anderson, David Archer, Ulrich Bathmann, Philip Boyd, Ken Buesseler, Peter Burkill, Alexander Bychkov, Craig Carlson,Chen-Tung Arthur Chen, Scott Doney, Hugh Ducklow, Steven Emerson, Richard Feely, Gene Feldman, Veronique Garçon, Dennis Hansell,Roger Hanson, Paul Harrison, Susumu Honjo, Catherine Jeandel, David Karl, Robert Le Borgne, Kon-Kee Liu, Karin Lochte, Ferial Louanchi,Roy Lowry, Anthony Michaels, Patrick Monfray, James Murray, Andreas Oschlies, Trevor Platt, Julian Priddle, Renato Quiñones,Diana Ruiz-Pino, Toshiro Saino, Egil Sakshaug, Graham Shimmield, Sharon Smith, Walker Smith, Taro Takahashi,Paul Tréguer, Douglas Wallace, Rik Wanninkhof, Andrew Watson, Jürgen Willebrand, and Chi Shing Wong. Table 1. The Scientific Goals of JGOFS. To determine and understand on a global scale theprocesses controlling the time-varying fluxes of carbonand associated biogenic elements in the ocean, and toevaluate the related exchanges with the atmosphere,sea floor, and continental boundaries.To develop a capability to predict on a global scale theresponse of oceanic biogeochemical processes toanthropogenic perturbations, in particular those relatedto climate change. A New Vision of Ocean BiogeochemistryAfter a Decade of the Joint Global OceanFlux Study (JGOFS)  5 AMBIO SPECIAL REPORT 10, MAY 2001© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2001 ceptual advances that fostered a better understanding of oceanecosystems and biogeochemical cycles were needed as well.The JGOFS Science Plan, published in 1990, sets forth twoprimary goals (Table 1). The strategy for addressing these goalshas included a series of process studies in regions of the oceanthat are thought to contribute the most to the flux of carbon be-tween the ocean and the atmosphere, a global survey of dissolvedinorganic carbon (DIC) parameters in ocean waters, and severallong-term measurement programs at sites in key ocean basins(Fig. 1). JGOFS is also committed to the development of mod-els that can assimilate results from field studies, produce accu-rate large-scale descriptions of ocean biogeochemical phenom-ena and predict oceanic responses to environmental changes. Thefinal component of the JGOFS strategy is a comprehensive andaccessible database of results.JGOFS has completed a decade of field studies in key regionsof the global ocean. These studies have brought together dataon chemical fluxes, biological processes and the physical forcesthat constrain them. They have substantially increased our un-derstanding of the pathways by which carbon moves through theocean in various forms, organic or inorganic, in particles or dis-solved in the water. They have also improved our knowledge Global Survey of Carbon Dioxide in the Ocean JGOFS investigators carried out measurements of inorganiccarbon system parameters on World Ocean Circulation Experiment(WOCE) hydrographic sections, indicated here with red lines,between 1990 and 1998. Time-series Observations Red triangles mark the locations of JGOFStime-series stations, some of which havebeen operating for more than 10 years. Intensive StudiesRegional Process Studies In the ocean regions marked in light blue,JGOFS investigators conducted detailedshipboard studies of key biogeochemicalprocesses in the ocean carbon cycle. Extensive Studies    S  a   t  e   l   l   i   t  e   i  m  a  g  e  c  o  u  r   t  e  s  y  o   f   S  e  a   W   i   F   S   P  r  o   j  e  c   t ,   N   A   S   A   G  o   d   d  a  r   d   S  p  a  c  e   F   l   i  g   h   t   C  e  n   t  e  r Figure 1. JGOFS Field Programme.Remote Sensing Measurements of Ocean Color Data from ocean-color measurements aboard satellites are used toestimate phytoplankton pigments in the euphotic zone of theocean. Results shown are annual averages from data collected bythe SeaWiFS sensor, launched into orbit in August 1997.
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