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Methane and nitrous oxide in surface water along the North-West Passage, Arctic Ocean

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Vassilis Kitidis, Professor Robert Upstill-GoddardORCiD


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Dissolved methane and nitrous oxide in seawater were measured along a 6700 km transect of the North-West Passage between the North Atlantic Ocean and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean. Over- and under-saturation with respect to atmospheric equilibrium were observed for both gases. Methane and nitrous oxide were in the range of 58-528% and 82-181% saturation, respectively. Under-saturation was attributed to melt-water with low methane and nitrous oxide, while over-saturation was found under multi-year sea-ice. Elevated methane was also found in the vicinity of the marginal ice zones and the Mackenzie River plume. Our data support both water column and sedimentary sources of methane and nitrous oxide. We found first-order methane oxidation in surface seawater with a rate constant of 3.8 x 10(-3) h(-1). Based on these results and a conceptual model, we suggest that future sea-ice retreat may decrease the residence times of methane and nitrous oxide in the surface Arctic Ocean and thus enhance the sea-air flux of these climatically active gases. Crown Copyright (C) 2010 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kitidis V, Upstill-Goddard RC, Anderson LG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Chemistry

Year: 2010

Volume: 121

Issue: 1-4

Pages: 80-86

Print publication date: 24/03/2010

ISSN (print): 0304-4203

ISSN (electronic): 1872-7581

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.marchem.2010.03.006


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Funder referenceFunder name
NE/C000706/1UK Natural Environment Research Council