Fluxes of particulate organic carbon in the East China Sea in summer
To understand carbon cycling in marginal seas better, particulate organic carbon (POC) concentrations, POC fluxes and primary production (PP) were measured in the East China Sea (ECS) in summer 2007. Higher concentrations of POC were observed in the inner shelf, and lower POC values were found in the outer shelf. Similar to POC concentrations, elevated uncorrected POC fluxes (720–7300 mg C m −2 d −1) were found in the inner shelf, and lower POC fluxes (80–150 mg C m −2 d −1) were in the outer shelf, respectively. PP values (~ 340–3380 mg C m −2 d −1) had analogous distribution patterns to POC fluxes, while some of PP values were significantly lower than POC fluxes, suggesting that contributions of resuspended particles to POC fluxes need to be appropriately corrected. A vertical mixing model was used to correct effects of bottom sediment resuspension, and the lowest and highest corrected POC fluxes were in the outer shelf (58 ± 33 mg C m −2 d −1) and the inner shelf (785 ± 438 mg C m −2 d −1), respectively. The corrected POC fluxes (486 to 785 mg C m −2 d −1) in the inner shelf could be the minimum value because we could not exactly distinguish the effect of POC flux from Changjiang influence with turbid waters. The results suggest that 27–93% of the POC flux in the ECS might be from the contribution of resuspension of bottom sediments rather than from the actual biogenic carbon sinking flux. While the vertical mixing model is not a perfect model to solve sediment resuspension because it ignores biological degradation of sinking particles, Changjiang plume (or terrestrial) inputs and lateral transport, it makes significant progress in both correcting the resuspension problem and in assessing a reasonable quantitative estimate of POC flux in a marginal sea.