Description of a global marine particulate organic carbon-13 isotope data set

Type Article
Date 2021-10
Language English
Author(s) Verwega Maria-Theresia1, 2, Somes Christopher J1, Scharlau Markus1, Tuerena Robyn E3, Lorrain Anne4, Oschlies Andreas1, Slawig Thomas2
Affiliation(s) 1 : GEOMAR - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany
2 : Kiel University, Kiel, Germany
3 : Scottish Association for Marine Science, Dunstaffnage, Oban PA37 1QA, UK
4 : Univ Brest, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, LEMAR, F-29280 Plouzané, France
Source Earth System Science Data (1866-3508) (Copernicus GmbH), 2021-10 , Vol. 13 , N. 10 , P. 4861-4880
DOI 10.5194/essd-2021-159

Marine particulate organic carbon-13 stable isotope ratios (δ13CPOC) provide insights in understanding carbon cycling through the atmosphere, ocean, and biosphere. They have been used to trace the input of anthropogenic carbon in the marine ecosystem due to the distinct isotopically light signature of anthropogenic emissions. However, δ13CPOC is also significantly altered during photosynthesis by phytoplankton, which complicates its interpretation. For such purposes, robust spatio-temporal coverage of δ13CP OC observations is essential. We collected all such available data sets, merged and homogenized them to provide the largest available marine δ13CPOC data set (Verwega et al., 2021). The data set consists of 4732 data points covering all major ocean basins beginning in the 1960s. We describe the compiled raw data, compare different observational methods, and provide key insights in the temporal and spatial distribution that is consistent with previously observed patterns. The main different sample collection methods (bottle, intake, net, trap) are generally consistent with each other when comparing within regions. An analysis of 1990s mean δ13CP OC values in an meridional section accross the Atlantic Ocean shows relatively high values (≥ −22 ‰) in the low latitudes (< 30°) trending towards lower values in the Arctic Ocean (∼ −24 ‰) and Southern Ocean (≤ −28 ‰). The temporal trend since the 1960s shows a decrease of mean δ13CPOC by more than 3 ‰ in all basins except for the Southern Ocean which shows a weaker trend but contains relatively poor multi-decadal coverage.

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Verwega Maria-Theresia, Somes Christopher J, Scharlau Markus, Tuerena Robyn E, Lorrain Anne, Oschlies Andreas, Slawig Thomas (2021). Description of a global marine particulate organic carbon-13 isotope data set. Earth System Science Data, 13(10), 4861-4880. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :