• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Carbon fluxes in the equatorial Pacific: a synthesis of the JGOFS programme

Deep Sea Research II (2002)
Le Borgne R, Feely R A and Mackey D J (eds)
Doi: 10.1016/S0967-0645(02)00043-7
Vol 49; No 13-14; pp. 2425-2442

This paper synthesizes published results on the carbon cycle of the equatorial Pacific which accounts for a major fraction of the net exchange Of CO2 between the atmosphere and the oceans. Most of the CO2 evasion takes place in the upwelling-influenced region in the eastern Pacific, while atmospheric and sea-surface partial pressures of CO, are near equilibrium in the warm pool, located to the west. Large changes in the surface area of the upwelling region, which occur as a result of the ENSO (El Ni (n) over tildeo-Southern Oscillation) phenomenon, account for up to 70% of the interannual variability in the net air-sea flux Of CO2. On average, the export of biological production, which is approximately the same as new primary production, is similar to that Of CO2 evasion (0.8-1.OPg Cyr(-1)), but there is less temporal variability due to the very slow uptake of new macronutrients in the equatorial ecosystem. As in other tropical ecosystems, both the warm pool and upwelling areas are characterized by: (i) the dominance of picophytoplankton, and (ii) the steady state, achieved by the balance between predation and growth. In addition to the basic tropical population of nano- and picoplankton, larger phytoplankton are more abundant in the nutrient-replete waters of the upwelling region with the result that biomass, mean organism size and export fluxes are greater than in the nutrient-depleted waters of the warm pool. However, the difference in export flux of carbon between the two regions is rather modest (2-4 fold per unit area) because of the limitation of primary production in the upwelling zone by iron and, possibly, other nutrients. The latter is a typical HNLC (high-nutrient-low-chlorophyll) zone with very low rates of uptake of macronutrients and an essentially constant export flux of carbon due to the 'biological pump. This general pattern is temporarily disturbed by the passage of equatorial Kelvin waves and tropical instability waves (TIW) in the upwelling region through horizontal advection and possible inputs of micronutrients from the deeper layers. Finally, low-frequency variations on decadal time scales could influence the values of the CO2 evasion and the 'biological pump'. Studying their impact will require long-term monitoring.

Share this page
Tell a friend (opens in new window)
Follow us

Please note!

IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

No events available

  • Global Change Magazine No. 84

    This final issue of the magazine takes stock of IGBP’s scientific and institutional accomplishments as well as its contributions to policy and capacity building. It features interviews of several past...

  • Global Change Magazine No. 83

    This issue features a special section on carbon. You can read about peak greenhouse-gas emissions in China, the mitigation of black carbon emissions and the effect of the 2010-2011 La Niña event on gl...