Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Science. 2004 May 7;304(5672):858-61.

Degradation of terrigenous dissolved organic carbon in the western Arctic Ocean.

Author information

  • 1Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149, USA.


The largest flux of terrigenous organic carbon into the ocean occurs in dissolved form by way of rivers. The fate of this material is enigmatic; there are numerous reports of conservative behavior over continental shelves, but the only knowledge we have about removal is that it occurs on long unknown time scales in the deep ocean. To investigate the removal process, we evaluated terrigenous dissolved organic carbon concentration gradients in the Beaufort Gyre of the western Arctic Ocean, which allowed us to observe the carbon's slow degradation. Using isotopic tracers of water-mass age, we determined that terrigenous dissolved organic carbon is mineralized with a half-life of 7.1 +/- 3.0 years, thus allowing only 21 to 32% of it to be exported to the North Atlantic Ocean.

Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk