Air-sea exchange of O2 and CO2 Processes controlling the transfer efficiency

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: World oceans cover more than 70% of the earth surface and constitutes a major sink of atmospheric CO2. Two of the most important gases in the marine carbon cycling are O2 and CO2 and hence accurate descriptions of the air-sea gas exchange of these gases are crucial. Still there is a lack of knowledge of the relative importance of processes controlling the efficiency of the air-sea gas transfer. This is especially true for Arctic and high latitude seas were studies on air-sea gas exchange are few. By studying processes causing water-side turbulence, using gases of different solubility and various measurement techniques, more knowledge on the governing processes can be obtained.Here we present the very first air-sea fluxes of O2 using atmospheric eddy covariance measurements and investigate the dependence between the gas transfer velocity of O2 and turbulence generated by the mean wind. The instrument was found to suffer from the limited precision and time response, causing significant corrections on the O2 flux. After correcting for this, the O2 fluxes displays an anti-correlation with the air-sea fluxes of CO2 in agreement with the measured air-sea gradient of O2. The transfer velocities for O2 indicates a stronger wind dependence than other commonly used parameterizations of the transfer velocity for CO2 and O2, this especially for wind speeds > 5 m s-1 where the typical onset of wave breaking occur.During two winter months eddy covariance measurements were taken over a high Arctic fjord. The data revealed a significant enhancement of the gas transfer velocity for CO2 from water-side convection, generated by cooling of surface waters. The dependence between water-side convection and gas transfer velocity were found for winds as high as 9 m s-1, but were strongest for wind speeds< 7  m s-1.  The data also showed on enhanced air-sea gas transfer of CO2 when conditions were unstable very close to neutral. This enhanced transfer were associated to increased contribution to the CO2 flux from downdraft of air with higher concentrations of CO2.  The combined effect of water-side convection and turbulence generated by wind results in a very effective transfer, thus the air-sea gas exchange at these latitudes may be significantly underestimated.