Description of a global marine particulate organic carbon-13 isotope data set

Maria-theresia Verwega, Christopher J. Somes, Markus Schartau, Robyn Elizabeth Tuerena, Anne Lorrain, Andreas Oschlies, Thomas Slawig

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Marine particulate organic carbon stable isotope ratios (δ13CPOC) provide insights into understanding carbon cycling through the atmosphere, ocean and biosphere. They have for example been used to trace the input of anthropogenic carbon in the marine ecosystem due to the distinct isotopically light signature of anthropogenic emissions. However, δ13CPOC is also significantly altered during photosynthesis by phytoplankton, which complicates its interpretation. For such purposes, robust spatio-temporal coverage of δ13CPOC observations is essential. We collected all such available data sets and merged and homogenized them to provide the largest available marine δ13CPOC data set (; Verwega et al., 2021). The data set consists of 4732 data points covering all major ocean basins beginning in the 1960s. We describe the compiled raw data, compare different observational methods, and provide key insights in the temporal and spatial distribution that is consistent with previously observed large-scale patterns. The main different sample collection methods (bottle, intake, net, trap) are generally consistent with each other when comparing within regions. An analysis of 1990s median δ13CPOC values in a meridional section across the best-covered Atlantic Ocean shows relatively high values (≥−22 ‰) in the low latitudes (<30∘) trending towards lower values in the Arctic Ocean (∼−24 ‰) and Southern Ocean (≤−28 ‰). The temporal trend since the 1960s shows a decrease in the median δ13CPOC by more than 3 ‰ in all basins except for the Southern Ocean, which shows a weaker trend but contains relatively poor multi-decadal coverage
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4861-4880
Number of pages20
JournalEarth System Science Data
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2021


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