Suspended particles in the Canada Basin from optical and bottle data, 2003–2008
- 1Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia, 6339 Stores Rd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
- 2Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, P. O. Box 6000, Sidney, British Columbia V8L 4B2, Canada
Abstract. It is expected that coastal erosion, upwelling, and increased river runoff from Arctic warming will increase the concentration of suspended particles in the Arctic Ocean. Here we analyze in situ transmissometer and fluorometer data from the summers of 2003 through 2008 and bottle-derived particulate organic carbon (POC) and total suspended solids (TSS) measurements sampled in the summers of 2006 and 2007 from the Canada Basin and surrounding shelves. We divided our study area into five regions to account for the significant spatial variability and found that the highest attenuation, POC and TSS values were observed along the Beaufort shelf and the lowest values were located along the eastern shelf of the Canada Basin. We then explored the correlation of POC and TSS with beam attenuation coefficients to assess the viability of estimating POC concentrations from archived transmissometer data. POC (but not TSS) and attenuation were well-correlated over the Northwind Ridge, in the Canada Basin interior, and along the eastern shelf of the Canada Basin. Neither TSS nor POC were well-correlated with attenuation along the entire Beaufort shelf. An interannual comparison of the attenuation and fluorescence data was done. We found no evidence of increasing attenuation from the summers of 2003 through 2008 and, although not statistically significant, it even appeared that attenuation decreased over time in the upper 25 m of the Northwind Ridge and in the 25–100 m layer (that includes the chlorophyll maximum) of the eastern Beaufort shelf and within the Canada Basin. In the Canada Basin interior, the subsurface chlorophyll maximum deepened at a rate of 3.2 m per year from an average of 45 m in 2003 to 61 m in 2008, an example of how changes to the Arctic climate are impacting its ecology.