Distribution and fluxes of dissolved organic carbon in the Arctic Ocean

  • Alexander Vetrov Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Evgeny Romankevich Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: DOC fluxes, ocean carbon cycle, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Fram Strait


Dissolved organic carbon, from marine biota excretions and decomposing detritus, is one of the main components of the carbon cycle in the ocean. In this study, an attempt was made to construct maps of the distribution and fluxes of DOC in the Arctic Ocean and the exchanges with the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Because of the limited data available a multiple linear regression technique was performed to identify significant relationships between DOC (2200 samples) and hydrologic parameters (temperature and salinity), as well as depth, horizon, latitude and offshore distance. Mapping of the DOC distribution and its fluxes was carried out at 38 horizons from 5 to 4150 m depth (resolution 1°×1°). Data on temperature, salinity and meridional and zonal components of current velocities were obtained from the Ocean Re-Analysis System 4 (ORAS4) database. All these parameters were averaged for the June–October period, the season of water sampling. The import of DOC in the Arctic Ocean is estimated to be 206 ± 17Tg C yr−1, and the export is 194 ± 23Tg C yr−1, so the import–export is balanced within the errors.


Download data is not yet available.


Amon R.M.W. 2004. The role of dissolved organic matter for the Arctic Ocean carbon cycle. In R. Stein & R.W. Macdonald (eds.): The organic carbon cycle in the Arctic Ocean. Pp. 83–99. Berlin: Springer.

Amon R.M.W., Budéus G. & Meon B. 2003. Dissolved organic carbon distribution and origin in the Nordic seas: exchanges with the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic. Journal of Geophysical—Oceans Research 108, article no. 3221, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2002JC001594.

Anderson L.G. & Amon R.M.W. 2015. DOM in the Arctic Ocean. In D.A. Hansell & C.A. Carlson (eds.): Biogeochemistry of marine dissolved organic matter. Pp. 609–633. Calveston: Elsevier.

Beszczynska-Möller A., Woodgate R.A., Lee C., Melling H. & Karcher M. 2011. A synthesis of exchanges through the main oceanic gateways to the Arctic Ocean. Oceanography 24, 82–99, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.59.

Cai W.-J., Bates N.R., Guo L., Anderson L.G., Mathis J.T., Wanninkhof R., Hansell D.A., Chen L. & Semiletov I.P. 2014. Carbon fluxes across boundaries in the Pacific Arctic region in a changing environment. In J.M. Grebmeier & W. Maslowski (eds.): The Pacific Arctic region: ecosystem status and trends in a rapidly changing environment. Pp. 199–222. Dordrecht: Springer.

Eicken H. 2004. The role of Arctic Sea ice in transporting and cycling terrestrial organic matter. In R. Stein & R.W. Macdonald (eds.): The organic carbon cycle in the Arctic Ocean. Pp. 45–53. Berlin: Springer.

Fahrbach E., Meincke J., Østerhus S., Rohardt G., Schauer U., Tverberg V. & Verduin J. 2001. Direct measurements of volume transport through the Fram Strait. Polar Research 20, 217–224, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v20i2.6520.

Gorškov S.G., Alekseev V.N. & Faleev V.I. (eds.) 1980. Atlas okeanov. Severnyj Ledovityj Okean. (Atlas of the oceans. The Arctic Ocean.) Moscow: Main Directorate of Navigation and Oceanography of the USSR Ministry of Defense.

Hansell D.A., Kadko D. & Bates N.R. 2004. Degradation of terrigenous dissolved organic carbon in the western Arctic Ocean. Science 304, 858–861, http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1096175.

Jakobsson M., Macnab R., Mayer L., Anderson R., Edwards M., Hatzky J., Schenke H.W. & Johnson P. 2008. An improved bathymetric portrayal of the Arctic Ocean: implications for ocean modeling and geological, geophysical and oceanographic analyses. Geophysical Research Letters 35, article no. L07602, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008GL033520.

Kieber R.J., Zhou X. & Mopper K. 1990. Formation of carbonyl compounds from UV-induced photodegradation of humic substances in natural waters: fate of riverine carbon in the sea. Limnology and Oceanography 35, 1503–1515, http://dx.doi.org/10.4319/lo.1990.35.7.1503.

Kivimäe C., Bellerby R.G.J., Fransson A., Reigstad M. & Johannessen T. 2010. Carbon budget for the Barents Sea. Deep-Sea Research Part I57, 1532–1542, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2010.05.006.

Kuzin V.I., Platov G.A., Golubeva E.N. & Malahova V.V. 2012. O nekotory hresultatah čislennogo modelirovanija processov v Severnom Ledovitom Okeane. (Results of numerical simulation of processes in the Arctic Ocean.) Izvestija RAN, Fizika Atmosferyi Okeana 48, 117–136. Moscow: Nauka.

Letscher R.T., Hansell D.A. & Kadko D. 2011. Rapid removal of terrigenous dissolved organic carbon over the Eurasian shelves of the Arctic Ocean. Marine Chemistry 123, 78–87, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marchem.2010.10.002.

Lundberg L. & Haugan P.M. 1996. Nordic seas–Arctic Ocean carbon budget from volume flows and inorganic carbon data. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10, 493–510, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/96GB00359.

Manizza M., Follows M.J., Dutkiewicz S., McClelland J.W., Menemenlis D., Hill C.N., Townsend-Small A. & Peterson B.J. 2009. Modeling transport and fate of riverine dissolved organic carbon in the Arctic Ocean. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 23, GB4006, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008GB003396.

Maslowski W., Marble D., Walczowski W., Schauer U., Clement J.L. & Semtner A.J. 2004. On climatological mass, heat, and salt transports through the Barents Sea and Fram Strait from a pan-Arctic coupled ice–ocean model simulation. Journal of Geophysical Research—Oceans 109, C03032, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2001JC001039.

Mauritzen C., Hansen E., Andersson M. Berx B., Beszczynska-Moller A., Burud I., Christensen K.H., Debernard J., de Steur L., Dodd P., Gerland S., Godoy O., Hansen B., Hudson S., Hoydalsvik F., Ingvaldsen R., Isachsen P.E., Kasajima Y., Koszalka I., Kovacs K.M., Koltzow M., LaCasce J., Lee C.M., Lavergne T., Lydersen C., Nicolaus M., Nilsen F., Nøst O.A., Orvik K.A., Reigstad M., Schyberg H., Seuthe L., Skagseth Ø., Skardhamar J., Skogseth R., Sperrevik A., Svensen C., Søiland H., Teigen S.H., Tverberg V. & Riser C.W. 2011. Closing the loop—approaches to monitoring the state of the Arctic Mediterranean during the International Polar Year 2007–2008. Progress in Oceanography 90, 62–89, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2011.02.010.

Myklestad S.M. 2000. Dissolved organic carbon from phytoplankton. In P.J. Wangersky (ed.): Marine chemistry. Pp. 111–148. Berlin: Springer.

Opsahl S., Benner R. & Amon R.M.W. 1999. Major flux of terrigenous dissolved organic matter through the Arctic Ocean. Limnology and Oceanography 44, 2017–2023, http://dx.doi.org/10.4319/lo.1999.44.8.2017.

Romankevich E. & Vetrov A. 2016. Organic matter. In J. Harff et al. (eds.): Encyclopedia of marine geosciences. Pp. 596–602. Dordrecht: Springer.

Sipler R.E., Kellogg C.T.E., Connelly T.L., Roberts Q.N., Yager P.L. & Bronk D.A. 2017. Microbial community response to terrestrially derived dissolved organic matter in the coastal Arctic. In J. Dinasquet et al. (eds.): Microbiology of the rapidly changing polar environments. Pp. 184–198. Lausanne: Frontiers.

Vetrov A.A. & Romankevich E.A. 2004. Carbon cycle in the Russian Arctic seas. Berlin: Springer.

Vetrov A.A. & Romankevich E.A. 2014. Primary production and fluxes of organic carbon to the sea bed in the Eurasian Arctic seas, 2003–2012. Doklady Earth Sciences 454, 44–46, http://dx.doi.org/10.1134/S1028334X14010073.
How to Cite
Vetrov A., & Romankevich E. (2019). Distribution and fluxes of dissolved organic carbon in the Arctic Ocean. Polar Research, 38. https://doi.org/10.33265/polar.v38.3500
Research Articles