A multi-year observation of nitrous oxide at the Boknis Eck Time Series Station in the Eckernförde Bay (southwestern Baltic Sea)

Ma, Xiao; Lennartz, Sinikka T.; Bange, Hermann W.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas, and it is involved in stratospheric ozone depletion. Its oceanic production is mainly influenced by dissolved nutrient and oxygen (O2) concentrations in the water column. Here we examined the seasonal and annual variations in dissolved N2O at the Boknis Eck (BE) Time Series Station located in Eckernförde Bay (southwestern Baltic Sea). Monthly measurements of N2O started in July 2005. We found a pronounced seasonal pattern for N2O with high concentrations (supersaturations) in winter and early spring and low concentrations (undersaturations) in autumn when hypoxic or anoxic conditions prevail. Unusually low N2O concentrations were observed during October 2016–April 2017, which was presumably a result of prolonged anoxia and the subsequent nutrient deficiency. Unusually high N2O concentrations were found in November 2017 and this event was linked to the occurrence of upwelling which interrupted N2O consumption via denitrification and potentially promoted ammonium oxidation (nitrification) at the oxic–anoxic interface. Nutrient concentrations (such as nitrate, nitrite and phosphate) at BE have been decreasing since the 1980s, but oxygen concentrations in the water column are still decreasing. Our results indicate a close coupling of N2O anomalies to O2 concentration, nutrients, and stratification. Given the long-term trends of declining nutrient and oxygen concentrations at BE, a decrease in N2O concentration, and thus emissions, seems likely due to an increasing number of events with low N2O concentrations.

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Ma, Xiao / Lennartz, Sinikka T. / Bange, Hermann W.: A multi-year observation of nitrous oxide at the Boknis Eck Time Series Station in the Eckernförde Bay (southwestern Baltic Sea). 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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