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Carbon monoxide apparent quantum yields and photoproduction in the Tyne estuary

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Aron Stubbins, Dr Guenther Uher, Professor Robert Upstill-GoddardORCiD



Carbon monoxide (CO) apparent quantum yields (AQYs) are reported for a suite of riverine, estuarine and sea water samples, spanning a range of coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) sources, diagenetic histories, and concentrations (absorption coefficients). CO AQYs were highest for high CDOM riverine samples and almost an order of magnitude lower for low CDOM coastal seawater samples. CO AQYs were between 47 and 80% lower at the mouth of the estuary than at its head. Whereas, a conservative mixing model predicted only 8 to 14% decreases in CO AQYs between the head and mouth of the estuary, indicating that a highly photoreactive pool of terrestrial CDOM is lost during estuarine transit. The CDOM absorption coefficient (a) at 412 nm was identified as a good proxy for CO AQYs (linear regression r(2) > 0.8; n = 12) at all CO AQY wavelengths studied (285, 295, 305, 325, 345, 365, and 423 nm) and across environments (high CDOM river, low CDOM river, estuary and coastal sea). These regressions are presented as empirical proxies suitable for the remote sensing of CO AQYs in natural waters, including open ocean water, and were used to estimate CO AQY spectra and CO photoproduction in the Tyne estuary based upon annually averaged estuarine CDOM absorption data. A minimum estimate of annual CO production was determined assuming that only light absorbed by CDOM leads to the formation of CO and a maximum limit was estimated assuming that all light entering the water column is absorbed by CO producing photoreactants (i.e. that particles are also photoreactive). In this way, annual CO photoproduction in the Tyne was estimated to be between 0.99 and 3.57 metric tons of carbon per year, or 0.004 to 0.014% of riverine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) inputs to the estuary. Extrapolation of CO photoproduction rates to estimate total DOC photomineralisation indicate that less than 1% of DOC inputs are removed via photochemical processes during transit through the Tyne estuary.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stubbins A, Law CS, Uher G, Upstill-Goddard RC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biogeosciences

Year: 2011

Volume: 8

Issue: 3

Pages: 703-713

Print publication date: 01/01/2011

Date deposited: 18/10/2011

ISSN (print): 1726-4170

ISSN (electronic): 1726-4189

Publisher: Copernicus GmbH


DOI: 10.5194/bg-8-703-2011


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Funder referenceFunder name
Newcastle University
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
GR3 11665National Environmental Research Council
OCE-0327446National Science Foundation
OCE-0728634National Science Foundation