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Export of carbon from the upper water column under different sea ice regimes in the Arctic Ocean (CARICE)

The main objective of CARICE is to evaluate the effect of varying conditions of sea ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean in the carbon export and remineralisations rates from the upper water column, as well as its final fate in the bottom sediments. We will use a suite of natural radionuclides (7Be, 210Pb, 210Po and 234Th) as tracers, with different sources and half-lives and specific biogeochemical characteristics. We will evaluate the magnitude of the exchange rates between sea ice and atmosphere and surface waters of those isotopes that are instrumental for the main objective and also as proxies for Fe, Mn, nutrients and/or contaminants in the system. Research to be conducted in different areas, as defined by nutrient regimes and their history in ice cover prior to sampling, will allow evaluating, quantifying and predicting regional effects of sea ice retreat on the Arctic ecosystem. This shall be used in coupled climate-ocean-biogeochemical models to better understand the shifts in biodiversity and function of Arctic ecosystems. The specific objectives to be attained are:

1. To quantify carbon export and remineralisation rates on different time scales and for different nutrient and ice regimes in the Central Arctic.

2. To constrain the efficiency of sea ice in intercepting and accumulating atmospheric fluxes of chemical species and quantify what is the role of particulate matter, including sea-ice algae, in their accumulation in sea ice and their fate when melting occurs.

3. To quantify the effect of exchanges between sea-ice and water on the distributions of the isotopes used as tracers of carbon in the water column.

4. To determine mixing and sedimentation rates in bottom sediments to evaluate the organic carbon cycling at different time scales.

Funding agency

Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. CTM2011-28452, Spain

Project duration



Professor Pere Masqué
Dr. J.L Mas, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain

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