Tracing the source of deep water in the Arctic Ocean with 17Oexcess of dissolved O

Friday, 19 December 2014
Boaz Luz1, William M Smethie Jr2, Eugeni Barkan1 and Wallace S Broecker2, (1)Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel, (2)Lamont -Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States
The 17Oexcess of dissolved O2 (17Δ) in the ocean is a unique property which is useful for telling apart O2 produced by marine photosynthesis (bio-O2) from atmospheric O2. Unlike O2 concentration, 17Δ is not affected by respiration and thus behaves conservatively in the deep sea. In general, 17Δ in the oceanic mixed layer is low due to the dominance of air-sea gas exchange. In contrast, in the Arctic mixed-layer 17Δ is higher because sufficient light penetrates through the sea-ice cover and drives photosynthesis, but air-sea gas exchange is retarded by sea ice cover. We have preliminary 17Δ data from depth profiles in the Eurasian and Makarov basins. In both, the fraction of bio-O2 is about 20 % in the surface mixed layer. However, the vertical distribution beneath the mixed layer at the two stations is substantially different. In the Makarov Basin there is a layer of Pacific Water centered at about 100 m, which enters the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait and is modified as it flows across the wide Chukchi and Siberian shelves. It has a strong maximum in 17Δ, equivalent to ~30% bio-O217Δ then decreases through the underlying halocline to a minimum between 500 and 700 m, which lies within the Barents Sea Branch of Atlantic Water (BSBW) indicating ~15% bio-O2. At the Eurasian Basin station, 17Δ decreases from the mixed layer through the halocline reaching a minimum at the temperature maximum of Atlantic Water. This temperature maximum marks the core of the Fram Strait Branch of Atlantic Water (FSBW). 17Δ then increases to a maximum indicating ~20% bio-O2 between 500 and 700 m. The BSBW is produced as Atlantic Water flows through the shallow Barents Sea becoming denser than FSBW and enters the Eurasian Basin through the Santa Anna Trough beneath the FSBW. Our 17Δ measurements suggest that waters of Pacific and Atlantic origin that transit across the wide Arctic continental shelves acquire a high 17Δ signal indicative of photosynthesis in ice covered water.