Tracing the transport of colored dissolved organic matter in water masses of the Southern Beaufort Sea: relationship with hydrographic characteristics
Abstract. Light absorption by colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) [aCDOM(λ)] plays an important role in the heat budget of the Arctic Ocean, contributing to the recent decline in sea ice, as well as in biogeochemical processes. We investigated aCDOM(λ) in the Southern Beaufort Sea where a significant amount of CDOM is delivered by the Mackenzie River. In the surface layer, aCDOM(440) showed a strong and negative correlation with salinity, indicating strong river influence and conservative transport in the river plume. Below the mixed layer, a weak but positive correlation between aCDOM(440) and salinity was observed above the upper halocline, resulting from the effect of removal of CDOM due to brine rejection and lateral intrusion of Pacific summer waters into these layers. In contrast, the relationship was negative in the upper and the lower haloclines, suggesting these waters originated from Arctic coastal waters. DOC concentrations in the surface layer were strongly correlated with aCDOM(440) (r2 = 0.97), suggesting that this value can be estimated in this area, using aCDOM(440) that is retrieved using satellite ocean color data. Implications for estimation of DOC concentrations in surface waters using ocean color remote sensing are discussed.