Dissolved organic carbon dynamics in the East China Sea and the northwest Pacific Ocean
Oceanic dissolved organic carbon (DOC) represents one of the largest carbon reservoirs on Earth, and its distribution and biogeochemical cycles play important roles in carbon cycling and other biogeochemical processes in the ocean. We report the distribution and concentrations of DOC for water samples collected from the shelf-edge and slope regions in the East China Sea (ECS) and the Kuroshio Extension (KE) in the northwestern North Pacific during two cruises in 2014–2015. The DOC concentrations were 45–88 µM in the ECS and 35–65 µM in the KE. In addition to biological processes that are estimated to account for 7 % and 8 %–20 % in shaping the DOC distribution in the ECS and KE regions, respectively, the DOC distribution is largely controlled by hydrodynamic mixing of different water masses. By comparing the DOC results with dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and dissolved inorganic radiocarbon (Δ14C-DIC) measured from the same water samples, we further demonstrate that the intrusion of the Kuroshio Current could dilute the DOC concentrations at stations in the outer shelf and slope regions of the ECS. The concentrations of DOC in the KE were significantly lower in surface waters than in the ECS, and a relatively low and stable DOC level (∼40 µM) was found in deep water (below 1500 m) at all stations. Based on the previously reported DIC and Δ14C-DIC values for the stations, the observed spatial variations of DOC in the upper 700 m among the stations in the KE were mainly influenced by mixing of the two water masses carried by the Kuroshio and Oyashio, the two dominant western boundary currents in the region. The hydrodynamic processes are thus important factors in the distribution and dynamics of DOC in the KE region.