Quantifying biological carbon export for the northwest North Atlantic continental shelves

  • Fennel K
  • Wilkin J
  • 43


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 29


    Citations of this article.


It has been suggested that continental shelf systems contribute disproportionately to the oceanic uptake of atmospheric CO2, but the magnitude of this flux and the relative contributions of different underlying mechanisms are poorly quantified. A biological continental shelf pump mechanism has been implied; however, the magnitude of this export depends on advective transport of carbon-rich water off the shelf, a process that is difficult to observe directly. Here we use a physical-biogeochemical model for the northeastern North American continental margin to estimate the uptake of atmospheric CO2, the fraction of this uptake that results from biological processes, and the transport of organic carbon off the shelf. Our results suggest that there is no systematic difference in the area-normalized CO2 uptake between the shelf regions and the adjacent deep ocean. The advective transport of carbon-rich water off the shelf is insufficient to drive a Continental Shelf Pump in this region.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Katja Fennel

  • John Wilkin

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free