07 Mar 2023
 | 07 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Reviews and syntheses: Expanding the global coverage of gross primary production and net community production measurements using BGC-Argo floats

Robert W. Izett, Katja Fennel, Adam C. Stoer, and David P. Nicholson

Abstract. This paper provides an overview and demonstration of emerging float-based methods for quantifying gross primary production (GPP) and net community production (NCP) using Biogeochemical-Argo (BGC-Argo) float data. Recent publications have described GPP methods that are based on the detection of diurnal oscillations in upper ocean oxygen or particulate organic carbon concentrations using single profilers or a composite of BGC-Argo floats. NCP methods rely on budget calculations to partition observed tracer variations into physical or biological processes occurring over timescales greater than one day. Presently, multi-year NCP time-series are feasible at near-weekly resolution, using consecutive or simultaneous float deployments at local scales. Results, however, are sensitive to the choice of tracer used in the budget calculations and uncertainties in the budget parametrizations employed across different NCP approaches. Decadal, basin-wide GPP calculations are currently achievable using data compiled from the entire BGC-Argo array, but finer spatial and temporal resolution requires more float deployments to construct diurnal tracer curves. A projected, global BGC-Argo array of 1000 floats should be sufficient to attain annual GPP estimates at 10-degree latitudinal resolution, if floats profile at off-integer intervals (e.g., 5.2 or 10.2 days). Addressing the current limitations of float-based methods should enable enhanced spatial and temporal coverage of marine GPP and NCP measurements, facilitating global-scale determinations of the carbon export potential, training of satellite primary production algorithms, and evaluations of biogeochemical numerical models.

Robert W. Izett et al.

Status: open (until 18 Apr 2023)

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Robert W. Izett et al.

Robert W. Izett et al.


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Short summary
This manuscript provides an overview of the capacity to expand the global coverage of marine primary production estimates using autonomous ocean-going instruments, called Biogeochemical-Argo floats. We review existing approaches to quantifying primary production using floats, provide examples of the current implementation of the methods, and offer insights into how they can be better exploited. This paper is timely, given the ongoing expansion of the biogeochemical Argo array.