Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Oceanography


Physical Oceanography



First Advisor

Melissa Omand


The oceanic biological carbon pump encompasses a variety of mechanisms by which CO2, fixed into organic form by phytoplankton, is transported from the sunlit surface layers to the interior ocean. Here, we investigate submesoscale and mixed layer subduction, the physical arm of the biological pump, estimated to represent approximately 20% of global organic carbon (POC) export. Seven biogeochemical Argo (BGC) profiling oats were analyzed for evidence of physical subduction of POC in the North Atlantic Ocean. While we do not yet have enough measurements to reveal basin wide spatial trends, a notable pattern is found in the seasonality, suggesting that while subduction events are more likely to occur during winter, the bio-optical indicators - namely a deep local maxima in POC and O2 - are more common in the spring and summer. We show that these deep features are potentially long-lived, having been subducted in late winter or spring and persisting throughout the warm season. To demonstrate, we focus on a set of notably strong POC anomalies, observed in ten consecutive BGC Argo profiles on the northeastern edge of the subtropical gyre. Analysis of the physical, bio-optical and biogeochemical profiles, complemented by remote sensing and modeling, provides insight into the history and subsequent fate of that water mass. This work highlights the potential of bio-optically and biogeochemically-equipped oats for process-style assessments of the biological carbon pump and the value added by increasing the number of BGC oats throughout the oceans.



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