Nutrient and dissolved inorganic carbon variability in the North Pacific

Sayaka Yasunaka, Humio Mitsudera, Frank Whitney, Shin ichiro Nakaoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A compilation of surface water nutrient (phosphate, nitrate, and silicate) and partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) observations from 1961 to 2016 reveals seasonal and interannual variability in the North Pacific. Nutrients and calculated dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) reach maximum concentrations in March and minimum in August. Nutrient and DIC variability is in-phase (anti-phase) with changes in the mixed layer depth (sea surface temperature) north of 30 °N, and it is anti-phase (in-phase) with changes in Chl-a north of 40 °N (in 30 °N–40 °N). Seasonal drawdown of nutrients and DIC is larger toward the northwest and shows a local maximum in the boundary region between the subarctic and subtropics. Stoichiometric ratios of seasonal drawdown show that, compared to nitrate, silicate drawdown is large in the northwestern subarctic including the Bering and Okhotsk seas, and drawdown of carbon is larger toward the south. Net community production in mixed layer from March to July is estimated to be more than 6 gC/m2/mo in the boundary region between the subarctic and subtropics, the western subarctic, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Bering Sea. Nutrient and DIC concentrations vary with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation which cause changes in horizontal advection and vertical mixing. The DIC trend is positive in all analysis area and large in the western subtropics (> 1.0 μmol/l/yr). Averaged over the analysis area, it is increasing by 0.77 ± 0.03 μmol/l/yr (0.75 ± 0.02 μmol/kg/yr).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • DIC
  • NPGO
  • Nitrate
  • PDO
  • Phosphate
  • Silicate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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