Regional patterns in current and future export production in the central Arctic Ocean quantified from nitrate fluxes
Due to severe nutrient and light limitation, the central Arctic Ocean has been characterized as a region of low primary productivity, with high retention of carbon in the surface waters. Using an in-depth analysis of published and new measurements of turbulent microstructure and high-resolution profiles of nitrate concentration, we reassess the vertical supply of nitrate to the Polar Mixed Layer and the associated export of particulate organic matter across the nitracline. We estimate annual export production to be approximately 1.5–3 g C m−2, but regional differences in both current and future potential of export production are large, with the eastern Arctic being least constrained by vertical nutrient supply and the western Arctic the most. Future changes in export production are assessed using a 1-D budget model; increases in the Atlantic sector are possibly compensated by decreases in the rest of the central Arctic Ocean such that the net change might be insignificant.