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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bgd-12-7017-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bgd-12-7017-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  12 May 2015

12 May 2015

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This preprint was under review for the journal BG but the revision was not accepted.

Methane distribution, flux, and budget in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea

M.-S. Sun2,*,1, G.-L. Zhang2,1, X.-P. Cao1, X.-Y. Mao3, J. Li4, and W.-W. Ye1 M.-S. Sun et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Marine Chemistry Theory and Technology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China
  • 2Qingdao Collaborative Innovation Center of Marine Science and Technology, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China
  • 3College of Physical and Environmental Oceanography, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Hangzhou 310012, China
  • *now at: Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR), 24105 Kiel, Germany

Abstract. We measured dissolved methane (CH4) concentrations, saturations, and fluxes from sea into air and from sediment into water during cruises in March, May, August, October, and December of 2011 in the East China Sea (ECS) and the Yellow Sea (YS). CH4 concentrations had obvious spatial and seasonal variability due to the complex effects of different water masses and other variables. Maximal CH4 concentration, sea–air and sediment–water fluxes all occurred during the summer. CH4 concentration decreased gradually from the coastal area to the open sea, and high levels of CH4 generally appeared near the Changjiang Estuary and outside the Hangzhou Bay. During early spring and winter, CH4 had a uniform distribution from the surface to the bottom, but CH4 concentration increased gradually with depth during other seasons. The subsurface CH4 maximum occurred at a depth of about 200 m during May, October, and December. The CH4 level at the bottom was generally higher than at the surface, and this was enhanced during summer due to hypoxia in the bottom waters. Changjiang-diluted water, the Kuroshio Current, and the Taiwan Warm Current Water affected the geographic distribution of CH4 in the ECS, and these water bodies contributed about 3.45, 2.97, 14.60 mol s−1 of CH4 during summer and 2.11, 8.58, 5.20 mol s−1 CH4 during winter, respectively. Sediment was also a significant source of dissolved CH4 in the ECS, and we estimated the average sediment–water CH4 flux of the ECS and YS as about 1.02 μmol m−2 d−1. We also used a box model to calculate the CH4 budget in the ECS. The results suggested that in situ CH4 production in the water column was the major source of CH4, and accounted for 0.21 μmol m−3 day−1 during summer and 0.11 μmol m−3 day−1 during winter. Air–sea exchange was the major sink of CH4 in the ECS. We estimated total CH4 emission from the ECS and YS as about 4.45 x 109 mol during 2011. Our results indicated that the ECS and YS were active areas for CH4 production and emission.

M.-S. Sun et al.

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Short summary
Obvious seasonal variations of the distribution and emission of methane in the ECS and YS were reported based on data collected during five cruises in 2011. A box model was used to calculate the methane budget in the ECS, identify the main sources and sinks of dissolved methane in this area, and estimate the contribution of different sources to total methane quantitatively. It indicated that the most important source of methane in the ECS was in situ production in the water column.
Obvious seasonal variations of the distribution and emission of methane in the ECS and YS were...
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