Light absorption and partitioning in Arctic Ocean surface waters: impact of multiyear ice melting

Abstract : Ice melting in the Arctic Ocean exposes the surface water to more radiative energy with poorly understood effects on photo-biogeochemical processes and heat deposi-tion in the upper ocean. In August 2009, we documented the vertical variability of light absorbing components at 37 stations located in the southeastern Beaufort Sea including both Mackenzie River-influenced waters and polar mixed layer waters. We found that melting multiyear ice released significant amount of non-algal particulates (NAP) near the sea surface relative to subsurface waters. NAP absorption coefficients at 440 nm (a NAP (440)) immediately below the sea surface were on average 3-fold (up to 10-fold) higher compared to subsurface values measured at 2–3 m depth. The impact of this unusual feature on the light transmission and remote sensing reflectance (R rs) was further examined using a ra-diative transfer model. A 10-fold particle enrichment homogeneously distributed in the first meter of the water column slightly reduced photosynthetically available and usable radiation (PAR and PUR) by ∼ 6 and ∼ 8 %, respectively, relative to a fully homogenous water column with low particle concentration. In terms of R rs , the particle enrichment significantly flattered the spectrum by reducing the R rs by up to 20 % in the blue-green spectral region (400–550 nm). These results highlight the impact of meltwater on the concentration of particles at sea surface, and the need for considering non-uniform vertical distribution of particles in such systems when interpreting remotely sensed ocean color. Spectral slope of a NAP spectra calculated in the UV (ultraviolet) domain decreased with depth suggesting that this parameter is sensitive to detritus composition and/or diagenesis state (e.g., POM (particulate organic matter) photobleaching).
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Biogeosciences, European Geosciences Union, 2013, 10 (10), pp.6433 - 6452. 〈10.5194/bg-10-6433-2013〉
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S. Bélanger, S.A. Cizmeli, J. Ehn, A. Matsuoka, D. Doxaran, et al.. Light absorption and partitioning in Arctic Ocean surface waters: impact of multiyear ice melting. Biogeosciences, European Geosciences Union, 2013, 10 (10), pp.6433 - 6452. 〈10.5194/bg-10-6433-2013〉. 〈hal-01537660〉

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