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Volume 3, issue 4 | Copyright

Special issue: SPOT-ON: Recent advances in the biogeochemistry of nitrogen...

Biogeosciences, 3, 607-619, 2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

  01 Dec 2006

01 Dec 2006

Nitrous oxide in the North Atlantic Ocean

S. Walter1,*, H. W. Bange1, U. Breitenbach1, and D. W. R. Wallace1 S. Walter et al.
  • 1Forschungsbereich Marine Biogeochemie, IFM-GEOMAR, Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, Kiel, Germany
  • *now at: Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Abstract. In order to get a comprehensive picture of the distribution of nitrous oxide (N2O) in the North Atlantic Ocean, measurements of dissolved nitrous oxide were made during three cruises in the tropical, subtropical and cold-temperate North Atlantic Ocean in October/November 2002, March/April 2004, and May 2002, respectively. To account for the history of atmospheric N2O, we suggest a new depth-dependent calculation of excess N2O (ΔN2O). N2O depth profiles showed supersaturation throughout the water column with a distinct increasing trend from the cold-temperate to the tropical region. Lowest nitrous oxide concentrations, near equilibrium and with an average of 11.0±1.7 nmol L−1, were found in the cold-temperate North Atlantic where the profiles showed no clear maxima. Highest values up to 37.3 nmol L−1 occurred in the tropical North Atlantic with clear maxima at approximately 400 m. A positive correlation of nitrous oxide with nitrate, as well as excess nitrous oxide with the apparent oxygen utilization (AOU), was only observed in the subtropical and tropical regions. Therefore, we conclude that the formation of nitrous oxide via nitrification occurs in the tropical region rather than in the cold-temperate region of the North Atlantic Ocean

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