K. A. Hughen

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Falmouth, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (125)523.67 Total impact

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    Timothy J Heaton, Konrad A Hughen, Edouard Bard
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    ABSTRACT: We consider a general methodology for the transferral of chronologies from a master reference record contain-ing direct dating information to an undated record of interest that does not. Transferral is achieved through the identification, by an expert, of a series of tie-points within both records that are believed to correspond to approximately contemporaneous events. Through tying of the 2 records together at these points, the reference chronology is elastically deformed onto the undated record. The method consists of 3 steps: creation of an age-depth model for the reference record using its direct dating information; selection of the tie-points and translation of their age estimates from the reference to the undated record; and finally, creation of an age-depth model for the undated record using these uncertain tie-point age estimates. Our method takes full account of the uncertainties involved in all stages of the process to create a final chronology within the undated record that allows joint age estimates to be found together with their credible intervals. To achieve computational practicality, we employ a Gaussian process to create our age-depth models. Calculations can then be performed exactly without resort to extremely slow Monte Carlo methods involving multiple independent model fits that would be required by other age-depth models.
    Radiocarbon 11/2013; 55(4):1975-1997. · 1.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High-quality data from appropriate archives are needed for the continuing improvement of radiocarbon cali- bration curves. We discuss here the basic assumptions behind 14C dating that necessitate calibration and the relative strengths and weaknesses of archives from which calibration data are obtained. We also highlight the procedures, problems, and uncertainties involved in determining atmospheric and surface ocean 14C/12C in these archives, including a discussion of the various methods used to derive an independent absolute timescale and uncertainty. The types of data required for the current IntCal database and calibration curve model are tabulated with examples.
    Radiocarbon 11/2013; 55(4):1923-1945. · 1.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Geological records of past sea ice, such as those contained in Arctic marine sediments, offer an opportunity to strengthen our understanding of long-term sea ice variability, provided unambiguous paleo-sea ice proxies can be developed. One such recently proposed proxy is IP25, a highly branched isoprenoid alkene biosynthesized exclusively by sea-ice dwelling diatoms (Haslea spp.), which is well preserved in marine sediments and could be used to reconstruct past changes in spring sea-ice extent. However, little is known about regional-scale controls on IP25 production in sea ice, limiting its wider applicability as a paleo-sea-ice proxy. To address this issue we examined the distributions of IP25 and the marine productivity biomarkers dinosterol and brassicasterol in a suite of surface sediment samples distributed across the Arctic. We find a statistically significant, logarithmic relationship between IP25 and spring sea ice cover in sediment samples from arctic and subarctic sites in the Pacific (n = 96, R2 = 0.67, P < 0.0001) and the Atlantic n = 25, R2 = 0.50, P < 0.0001), though the absolute concentrations of IP25 are generally higher in the Atlantic (1.6-166.4 μg/g OC) than in the Pacific (0-38.5 μg/g OC) for equivalent sea-ice cover, and there are regional and basin-specific differences in the slope of the IP25 - sea ice relationship. Using the PDIP25 index, which also includes a biomarker for marine productivity (e.g., dinosterol) the relationship with sea ice cover is improved in all of the study areas (R2 = 0.86 and R2 = 0.75 for Atlantic and Pacific, respectively) and most basin specific differences in the proxy-sea ice relationships are significantly reduced. However, there remain differences in the absolute magnitudes of the PDIP25 index for equivalent amounts of sea ice cover between the Atlantic and the Pacific, and with previously published data from Fram Strait. Nevertheless, this work demonstrates that the PDIP25 index can provide a valuable tool for sea ice reconstructions at local and regional scales.
    Quaternary Science Reviews 11/2013; · 4.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Sr/Ca ratio of coral aragonite is used to reconstruct past sea surface temperature (SST). Twenty-one laboratories took part in an interlaboratory study of coral Sr/Ca measurements. Results show interlaboratory bias can be significant, and in the extreme case could result in a range in SST estimates of 7° C. However, most of the data fall within a narrower range and the Porites coral reference material JCp- 1 is now characterized well enough to have a certified Sr/Ca value of 8.838 mmol/mol with an expanded uncertainty of 0.089 mmol/mol following International Association of Geoanalysts (IAG) guidelines. This uncertainty, at the 95% confidence level, equates to 1.5 °C for SST estimates using Porites, so is approaching fitness for purpose. The comparable median within laboratory error is <0.5 °C. This difference in uncertainties illustrates the interlaboratory bias component that should be reduced through the use of reference materials like the JCp-1. There are many potential sources contributing to biases in comparative methods but traces of Sr in Ca standards and uncertainties in reference solution composition can account for half of the combined uncertainty. Consensus values that fulfil the requirements to be certified values were also obtained for Mg/Ca in JCp-1 and for Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios in the JCt-1 giant clam reference material. Reference values with variable fitness for purpose have also been obtained for Li/Ca, B/Ca, Ba/Ca, and U/Ca in both reference materials. In future, studies reporting coral element/Ca data should also report the average value obtained for a reference material such as the JCp-1.
    Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 09/2013; 14:3730-3750. · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During the last glacial period, the North Atlantic regionexperienced pronounced, millennial-scale alternations between cold, stadial conditions and milder interstadial conditions--commonly referred to as Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations--as well as periods of massive iceberg discharge known as Heinrich events. Changes in Northern Hemisphere temperature, as recorded in Greenland, are thought to have affected the location of the Atlantic intertropical convergence zone and the strength of the Indian summer monsoon. Here we use high-resolution records of sediment colour--a measure of terrigenous versus biogenic content--from the Cariaco Basin off the coast of Venezuela and the Arabian Sea to assess teleconnections with the North Atlantic climate system during the last glacial period. The Cariaco record indicates that the intertropical convergence zone migrated seasonally over the site during mild stadial conditions, but was permanently displaced south of the basin during peak stadials and Heinrich events. In the Arabian Sea, we find evidence of a weak Indian summer monsoon during the stadial events. The tropical records show a more variable response to North Atlantic cooling than the Greenland temperature records. We therefore suggest that Greenland climate is especially sensitive to variations in the North Atlantic system--in particular sea-ice extent--whereas the intertropical convergence zone and Indian monsoon system respond primarily to variations in mean Northern Hemisphere temperature.
    Nature Geoscience 03/2013; 6(3):213-217. · 12.37 Impact Factor
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    Radiocarbon 01/2013; 55(4):1869–1887. · 1.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the causes and potential ecological and environmental impacts of recent and future temperature changes in the Arctic requires a better understanding of long term climate variability. Amongst the most promising new geochemical tools for sedimentary paleotemperature reconstructions are those based on the glycerol diakyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs). Although a number of studies have recently developed empirical calibrations for the temperature sensitivity of isoprenoid GDGTs (i.e., the TEX86 index) and the branched GDGTs (i.e., the MBT/CBT index) in mid and low latitude lakes, there is very little data from lakes in the Arctic. Here, we examine the temperature and environmental controls on GDGT abundances in a transect of small lakes (n = 59) distributed across Baffin Island in the eastern Canadian Arctic. Isoprenoid and branched GDGTs are ubiquitous in these lakes. The temperature control on the isoprenoid GDGT distributions is weak, although there is a significant relationship between the branched GDGT distributions and warm season temperature. Furthermore, published relationships developed between branched GDGTs and mean annual air temperatures in tropical lakes yield reconstructed temperatures from Arctic lakes that are consistent with Arctic summer air temperature. This suggests that empirical calibrations from branched GDGTs in lakes reflect the seasonality of branched GDGT production. For example, at low latitudes there is little seasonality in temperature, and branched GDGT production records air temperatures throughout the year. In the Arctic however, branched GDGTs are likely produced in summer, when the temperatures are warmest, sunlight hours are greatest and ice cover is diminished. Due to the extreme seasonality and short window of Arctic productivity, the use of branched GDGTs for summer paleotemperature reconstructions likely remains robust back through time. However, interpretations of paleotemperatures from branched GDGTs in temperate lakes may require careful consideration about potential changes in the seasonal timing of branched GDGT production.
    Organic Geochemistry 01/2013; 64:119–128. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hydrogen isotope composition of plant waxes preserved in lacustrine sediments is a potentially valuable tool for reconstructing paleoenvironmental changes in the Arctic. However, in contrast to the mid- and low-latitudes, significantly less effort has been directed towards understanding the factors controlling D/H fractionation in high latitude plant waxes and the impact of these processes on the interpretation of sedimentary leaf wax δD records. To better understand these processes, we examined the D/H ratios of long chain fatty acids in lake surface sediments spanning a temperature and precipitation gradient on Baffin Island in the eastern Canadian Arctic. D/H ratios of plant waxes increase with increasing temperature and aridity, with values ranging from -240‰ to -160‰ over the study area. Apparent fractionation factors between n-alkanoic acids in Arctic lake sediments and precipitation(ɛFA-ppt) are less negative than those of mid-latitude lakes and modern plants by 25‰ to 65‰, consistent with n-alkane data from modern Arctic plants (Yang et al., 2011). Furthermore, ɛFA-ppt values from Arctic lakes become systematically more positive with increasing evaporation, in contrast to mid-latitude sites, which show little to no change in fractionation with aridity. These data are consistent with enhanced water loss and isotope fractionation at higher latitude in the Arctic summer, when continuous sunlight supports increased daily photosynthesis. The dominant control on δDFA variations on Baffin Island is temperature. However, changing ɛFA-ppt result in steeper δDFA-temperature relationships than observed for modern precipitation. The application of this δDFA-based paleotemperature calibration to existing δDFA records from Baffin Island produces much more realistic changes in late Holocene temperature and highlights the importance of these effects in influencing the interpretation of Arctic δDFA records. A better understanding of the controls on hydrogen isotope fractionation in high latitude leaf waxes will be essential to the proper interpretation of isotope records from sedimentary plant waxes in the Arctic.
    Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 01/2013; 119:286 - 301. · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a technique that combines a high temperature quartz furnace with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry for the determination of Hg stored in the annual CaCO3 bands found in coral skeletons. Substantial matrix effects, presumably due to the discontinuous introduction of CO2 to the gas stream, were corrected for by simultaneously supplying a stream of argon containing highly enriched elemental 202Hgo and observing peaks in the 200Hg/202Hg signal as the sample was decomposed. Primary signal calibration for Hg was achieved using gas injections from a saturated vapor standard. The absolute instrument detection limit was low (about 0.2 fmol), with a practical limit of detection (3σ of blanks) of 2 fmol. Reproducibility of samples was (RSD) 15–27%.We applied this method to the determination of Hg concentrations in two colonies of Diploria labyrinthiformis collected from Castle Harbour, Bermuda, at a site about to be buried under the municipal waste landfill. The temporal reconstructions of Castle Harbour seawater Hg concentrations implied by the coral record show a decline throughout the period of record (1949–2008). The coral archived no apparent signal associated with waste disposal practices in the Harbour (bulk waste land-filling or, since 1994, disposal of waste incinerator ash), and mercury concentrations in the coral did not correlate to growth rate as assessed by linear extension. There was, however, a large and nearly exponential decrease in apparent Hg concentration in the Harbour which circumstantially implicates the dredging and/or landfilling operations associated with the construction of the airport on St. David’s Island.
    Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 01/2013; 109:27-37. · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The debate about the complex issues of human development during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition period (45–35 ka BP) has been hampered by concerns about the reliability of the radiocarbon dating method. Large 14C anomalies were postulated and radiocarbon dating was considered flawed. We show here that these issues are no longer relevant, because the large anomalies are artefacts beyond plausible physical limits for their magnitude. Previous inconsistencies between 14C radiocarbon datasets have been resolved, and a new radiocarbon calibration curve, IntCal09 (Reimer et al., 2009), was created. Improved procedures for bone collagen extraction and charcoal pre-treatment generally result in older ages, consistent with independently dated time markers.
    Journal of Archaeological Science 07/2012; 39(7):2464–2467. · 1.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ventilation and mixing of oceanic gyres is important to ocean-atmosphere heat and gas transfer, and to mid-latitude nutrient supply. The rates of mode water formation are believed to impact climate and carbon exchange between the surface and mid-depth water over decadal periods. Here, a record of (14)C/(12)C (1780-1940), which is a proxy for vertical ocean mixing, from an annually banded coral from Bermuda, shows limited inter-annual variability and a substantial Suess Effect (the decrease in (14)C/(12)C since 1900). The Sargasso Sea mixing rates between the surface and thermocline varied minimally over the past two centuries, despite changes to mean-hemispheric climate, including the Little Ice Age and variability in the North Atlantic Oscillation. This result indicates that regional formation rates of sub-tropical mode water are stable over decades, and that anthropogenic carbon absorbed by the ocean does not return to the surface at a variable rate.
    Nature Communications 01/2012; 3:803. · 10.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Patagonian fjords have a clear potential to provide high-resolution sedimentary and geochemical records of past climate and environmental change in the Southern Andes. To improve our ability to interpret these proxy records, we investigated the processes that control fjord sediment inorganic geochemistry through a geochemical, mineralogical and sedimentological analysis of surface sediment samples from the fjords of Northern Chilean Patagonia. A simple Terrestrial Index based on measurements of salinity and Fraction of Terrestrial Carbon was used to estimate the terrestrial input/river discharge at each site. Our results demonstrate that, under the cold climate conditions of Patagonia, chemical weathering is weak and the inorganic geochemical composition of the fjord sediments is primarily controlled by hydrodynamic mineralogical sorting, i.e., the intensity of river discharge. Our results suggest that the distribution of Fe, Ti and Zr in surface sediments is controlled by their association with heavy and/or coarse minerals, whereas Al is independent of hydrodynamic processes. The elemental ratios Fe/Al, Ti/Al and Zr/Al are therefore well suited for estimating changes in the energy of terrestrial sediment supply into the fjords through time. Zr/Al is particularly sensitive in proximal environments, while Fe/Al is most useful in the outer fjords and on the continental margin. In the most proximal environments, however, Fe/Al is inversely related to hydrodynamic conditions. Caution should therefore be exercised when interpreting Fe/Al ratios in terms of past river discharge. The application of these proxies to long sediment cores from Quitralco fjord and Golfo Elefantes validates our interpretations. Our results also emphasize the need to measure Al-based elemental ratios at high precision, which can be achieved using simultaneous acquisition ICP-AES technology. This study therefore constitutes a strong basis for the interpretation of sedimentary records from the Chilean Fjords.
    Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 01/2012; 76:125-146. · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glaciers are frequently used as indicators of climate change. However, the link between past glacier fluctuations and climate variability is still highly debated. Here, we investigate the mid- to late-Holocene fluctuations of Gualas Glacier, one of the northernmost outlet glaciers of the Northern Patagonian Icefield, using a multi-proxy sedimentological and geochemical analysis of a 15 m long fjord sediment core from Golfo Elefantes, Chile, and historical documents from early Spanish explorers. Our results show that the core can be sub-divided in three main lithological units that were deposited under very different hydrodynamic conditions. Between 5400 and 4180 cal yr BP and after 750 cal yr BP, sedimentation in Golfo Elefantes was characterized by the rapid deposition of fine silt, most likely transported by fluvio-glacial processes. By contrast, the sediment deposited between 4130 and 850 cal yr BP is composed of poorly sorted sand that is free of shells. This interval is particularly marked by high magnetic susceptibility values and Zr concentrations, and likely reflects a major advance of Gualas glacier towards Golfo Elefantes during the Neoglaciation. Several thin silt layers observed in the upper part of the core are interpreted as secondary fluctuations of Gualas glacier during the Little Ice Age, in agreement with historical and dendrochronological data. Our interpretation of the Golfo Elefantes glaciomarine sediment record in terms of fluctuations of Gualas glacier is in excellent agreement with the glacier chronology proposed for the Southern Patagonian Icefield, which is based on terrestrial (moraine) deposits. By comparing our results with independent proxy records of precipitation and sea surface temperature, we demonstrate that the fluctuations of Gualas glacier during the last 5400 yr were mainly driven by changes in precipitation in the Andes.
    Climate of the Past. 01/2012; 8(2):519-534.
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    ABSTRACT: Annual density banding and high linear extension rates make coral aragonite skeleton an excellent archive for constructing well-dated paleoclimate records. Moreover, spatial networks of long coral records can in theory be used to reconstruct climate gradients on multi-century time scales. Wintertime sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Red Sea are sensitive to variability in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) along a distinct spatial gradient from north to south. Red Sea satellite SST data for the past 25 years show a stronger wintertime anticorrelation to the NAO Index at northern sites (r=-0.73) than at central and southern locations (r=-0.55, r=-0.38, respectively). We present an investigation of this spatial pattern of SST and NAO variability in the Red Sea, using Sr/Ca measurements in coral cores along a north-south transect. Sr/Ca shows strong relationships to SST in these corals at biweekly and interannual (wintertime) timescales (r=-0.90, r=-0.74, respectively). A Sr/Ca-SST calibration for the entire region was generated using six Porites lutea corals representing a latitudinal range from 36.9°N to 17.8°N. Applying this multi-coral calibration to three long coral drill cores from the northern and central Red Sea, we will reconstruct the SST gradient and NAO variability back ~400 years. Averaging the spatially weighted coral SST records will increase the robustness of the resulting NAO reconstruction by minimizing noise from individual corals. In addition, the spatial gradient represented by these records may allow us to identify changes in the stationarity of the NAO "footprint" within the Red Sea back through time.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: The Bolivian Altiplano has been the focus of many paleoclimate studies due to the important role it plays in the South American climate system. Although the timing of climate shifts in this region is relatively well known, the magnitudes of hydrologic versus temperature changes remain poorly quantified. Here we apply hydrogen isotope analysis (δD) of terrestrial leaf waxes and the TEX86 temperature proxy in sediments from Lake Titicaca to reconstruct hydrologic and temperature variability over the past 50,000 years. Our record reveals that the Altiplano underwent a major climate shift during the last deglaciation, reflected in a ~70-80% enrichment in leaf wax δD at the onset of the Holocene. Using the global isotope-temperature relationship for meteoric water, only 25-40% of this enrichment can be explained by the 4-5°C deglacial warming shown by the TEX86 proxy, indicating that precipitation was significantly reduced (and evaporation/evapotranspiration increased) during the Holocene. Further, the timing of these hydrologic and temperature changes was asynchronous during the transition from a cold and wet glacial state to a warm and dry Holocene. The major hydrologic shift recorded by leaf wax δD occurred around ~11-12 ka, consistent with Northern Hemisphere deglacial patterns, whereas TEX86 data indicate that rapid warming began much earlier, more typical of a Southern Hemisphere deglacial pattern. Within the late glacial and Holocene mean climate states, however, there is evidence of synchronous hydrologic and temperature variability on millennial timescales. This study demonstrates that climate on the Altiplano was controlled by the interaction of local and remote forcing on a range of timescales.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: As a critical component of the cryosphere, sea ice helps regulate albedo and therefore the overall radiative balance of the Earth. Over the last 30 years, satellite data suggests that polar sea ice has been rapidly declining and continues to do so at an unprecedented rate. In order to contextualize recent changes in sea ice and their causes, new methods for characterizing paleo sea ice variations are needed. Recently, a new proxy for sea ice, which is based on the abundance of IP25, a highly branched isoprenoid alkene biosynthesized by the sea ice dwelling diatom Haslea spp, was proposed. Previous studies have shown that IP25 is preserved in surface and down-core sediments of the North Atlantic. This proxy has been used to successfully reconstruct sea ice variability in the North Atlantic as far back as the Paleogene. However, little is known about the effectiveness of this proxy in reconstructing sea ice elsewhere in the Arctic. Here, we examine the suitability of IP25 for paleo sea ice reconstructions in the North Pacific and Bering Sea by comparing IP25 concentrations in a large suite of surface sediment samples to modern mean annual sea ice duration and to dinocyst data, which is another proxy of sea-ice cover. This work represents a significant extension of the existing calibration dataset and expands the potential utility of this biomarker for paleo sea ice reconstructions. Using this expanded surface calibration, we quantify IP25 to generate a 27,000-year reconstruction of sea ice variability in the Sea of Okhotsk.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: A 182-year long record of trace metal concentrations of aluminum, zinc and lead was reconstructed from a massive Porites coral skeleton from southeastern Hong Kong to evaluate the impacts of anthropogenic activity on the marine environment. Zn/Ca and Pb/Ca ratios fluctuate synchronously from the early 19th century to the present, indicating that the marine environment has been anthropogenically influenced since industrialization. Additionally, land reclamation, mining, and ship building activities are recorded by elevated Al/Ca ratios from 1900 to 1950. The coral record indicates that high levels of Zn, Pb and Al occur coincidentally with local wars, and may have contributed to partial colony mortality. Pb/Ca does not correlate well with hemispheric proxy records after 1950, indicating that coastal corals may be recording local rather than hemispheric contamination. Pb/Ca levels in Hong Kong, Guangdong and Hainan corals imply a continuous supply of Pb-based contamination to southern China not reflected in hemispheric signals.
    Marine pollution bulletin 03/2011; 63(5-12):508-15. · 2.63 Impact Factor
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    Julio Sepúlveda, Silvio Pantoja, Konrad A. Hughen
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the provenance of organic matter in the inner fjord area of northern Patagonia, Chile (∼44–47°S), by studying the elemental (organic carbon, total nitrogen), isotopic (δ13C, δ15N), and biomarker (n-alkanoic acids from vascular plant waxes) composition of surface sediments as well as local marine and terrestrial organic matter. Average end-member values of N/C, δ13C, and δ15N from organic matter were 0.127±0.010, −19.8±0.3‰, and 9.9±0.5‰ for autochthonous (marine) sources and 0.040±0.018, −29.3±2.1‰, and 0.2±3.0‰ for allochthonous (terrestrial) sources. Using a mixing equation based on these two end-members, we calculated the relative contribution of marine and terrestrial organic carbon from the open ocean to the heads of fjords close to river outlets. The input of marine-derived organic carbon varied widely and accounted for 13–96% (average 61%) of the organic carbon pool of surface sediments. Integrated regional calculations for the inner fjord system of northern Patagonia covered in this study, which encompasses an area of ∼4280 km2, suggest that carbon accumulation may account for between 2.3 and 7.8×104 ton C yr−1. This represents a storage capacity of marine-derived carbon between 1.8 and 6.2×104 ton yr−1, which corresponds to an assimilation rate of CO2 by marine photosynthesis between 0.06 and 0.23×106 ton yr−1. This rate suggests that the entire fjord system of Patagonia, which covers an area of ∼240,000 km2, may represent a potentially important region for the global burial of marine organic matter and the sequestration of atmospheric CO2.
    Continental Shelf Research 01/2011; · 1.89 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
523.67 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2000–2013
    • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
      • Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry
      Falmouth, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2011
    • National Cheng Kung University
      • Department of Earth Sciences
      Tainan, Taiwan, Taiwan
  • 2008
    • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
      Urbana, Illinois, United States
  • 2003
    • University of California, Santa Barbara
      • Marine Science Institute
      Santa Barbara, CA, United States
  • 2001
    • University of Miami
      • Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
      Coral Gables, FL, United States
    • Harvard University
      • Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • ETH Zurich
      • Department of Earth Sciences
      Zürich, ZH, Switzerland
    • Universität Bern
      • Physikalisches Institut
      Bern, BE, Switzerland