Stable isotope composition of dissolved inorganic carbon and particulate organic carbon in sea ice from the Ross Sea, Antarctica Journal Article uri icon



  • We examined controls on the carbon isotopic composition of sea ice brines and organic matter during cruises to the Ross Sea, Antarctica in November/December 1998 and November/December 2006. Brine samples were analyzed for salinity, nutrients, total dissolved inorganic carbon (ΣCO2), and the 13C/12C ratio of ΣCO2 Particulate organic matter from sea ice cores was analyzed for percent particulate organic carbon (POC), percent total particulate nitrogen (TPN), and stable carbon isotopic composition (δ13CPOC). ΣCO2 in sea ice brines ranged from 1368 to 7149 μmol kg−1, equivalent to 1483 to 2519 μmol kg−1 when normalized to 34.5 psu salinity (sΣCO2), the average salinity of Ross Sea surface waters. Sea ice primary producers removed up to 34% of the available ΣCO2, an amount much higher than the maximum removal observed in sea ice free water. Carbonate precipitation and CO2 degassing may reduce sΣCO2 by a similar amount (e.g., 30%) in the most hypersaline sea ice environments, although brine volumes are low in very cold ice that supports these brines. Brine ranged from −2.6 to +8.0‰ while δ13CPOC ranged from −30.5 to −9.2‰. Isotopic enrichment of the ΣCO2 pool via net community production accounts for some but not all carbon isotopic enrichment of sea ice POC. Comparisons of sΣCO2, and δ13CPOC within sea ice suggest that εp (the net photosynthetic fractionation factor) for sea ice algae is ���8‰ smaller than the εp observed for phytoplankton in open water regions of the Ross Sea. These results have implications for modeling of carbon uptake and transformation in the ice‐covered ocean and for reconstruction of past sea ice extent based on stable isotopic composition of organic matter in sediment cores.

publication date

  • September 1, 2010

has restriction

  • bronze

Date in CU Experts

  • January 31, 2017 4:48 AM

Full Author List

  • Munro DR; Dunbar RB; Mucciarone DA; Arrigo KR; Long MC

author count

  • 5

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0148-0227

Additional Document Info


  • 115


  • C9