Articles | Volume 9, issue 4
Research article
25 Aug 2015
Research article |  | 25 Aug 2015

Winter observations of CO2 exchange between sea ice and the atmosphere in a coastal fjord environment

J. Sievers, L. L. Sørensen, T. Papakyriakou, B. Else, M. K. Sejr, D. Haubjerg Søgaard, D. Barber, and S. Rysgaard

Abstract. Eddy covariance observations of CO2 fluxes were conducted during March–April 2012 in a temporally sequential order for 8, 4 and 30 days, respectively, at three locations on fast sea ice and on newly formed polynya ice in a coastal fjord environment in northeast Greenland. CO2 fluxes at the sites characterized by fast sea ice (ICEI and DNB) were found to increasingly reflect periods of strong outgassing in accordance with the progression of springtime warming and the occurrence of strong wind events: FCO2ICE1 = 1.73 ± 5 mmol m−2 day−1 and FCO2DNB = 8.64 ± 39.64 mmol m−2 day−1, while CO2 fluxes at the polynya site (POLYI) were found to generally reflect uptake FCO2POLY1 = −9.97 ± 19.8 mmol m−2 day−1. Values given are the mean and standard deviation, and negative/positive values indicate uptake/outgassing, respectively. A diurnal correlation analysis supports a significant connection between site energetics and CO2 fluxes linked to a number of possible thermally driven processes, which are thought to change the pCO2 gradient at the snow–ice interface. The relative influence of these processes on atmospheric exchanges likely depends on the thickness of the ice. Specifically, the study indicates a predominant influence of brine volume expansion/contraction, brine dissolution/concentration and calcium carbonate formation/dissolution at sites characterized by a thick sea-ice cover, such that surface warming leads to an uptake of CO2 and vice versa, while convective overturning within the sea-ice brines dominate at sites characterized by comparatively thin sea-ice cover, such that nighttime surface cooling leads to an uptake of CO2 to the extent permitted by simultaneous formation of superimposed ice in the lower snow column.