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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 20, issue 12 | Copyright
Ann. Geophys., 20, 2067-2076, 2002
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-20-2067-2002
© Author(s) 2002. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  31 Dec 2002

31 Dec 2002

Atmospheric and oceanic dust fluxes in the northeastern tropical Atlantic Ocean: how close a coupling?

A. Bory2,1, F. Dulac1, C. Moulin1, I. Chiapello4,3, P. P. Newton5,1, W. Guelle1, C. E. Lambert1, and G. Bergametti3 A. Bory et al.
  • 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 2Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
  • 3Laboratoire Inter-Universitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, Faculté des Sciences et Technologies, 94010 Créteil, France
  • 4Laboratoire d’Optique Atmosphérique, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille 59 655 Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, France
  • 5School of Biological and Molecular Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Headington, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
  • Correspondence to: A. Bory (bory@ldeo.columbia.edu)

Abstract. Atmospheric inputs to the ocean of dust originating from Africa are compared with downward dust flux in the oceanic water column. Atmospheric fluxes were estimated using remote-sensing-derived dust optical thickness and parameters from a transport/deposition model (TM2z). Oceanic fluxes were measured directly over/in two regions of contrasting primary productivity of the northeastern tropical Atlantic (one mesotrophic and one oligotrophic, located at about 500 and 1500 km off Mauritania) underlying the offshore dust plume. In both regions, estimates of annual atmospheric dust inputs to the ocean surface are lower than, but of the same order of magnitude as, oceanic fluxes (49.5 and 8.8 mg.m-2 .d-1 in the mesotrophic and oligotrophic regions). Part of this mismatch may reflect both a general flaw in the dust grain size distribution used in transport models, which likely underestimates large particles, and/or lateral advection to each region of dustier surface waters from upstream, where dust deposition is higher. Higher-frequency temporal coupling between atmospheric and oceanic fluxes seems to be primary-productivity dependent, as hypothesized in previously reported studies.

Key words. Atmospheric composition and structure (aerosols and particles; geochemical cycles) Oceanography: biological and chemical (geochemistry)

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