Irminger Sea deep convection injects oxygen and anthropogenic carbon to the ocean interior
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Geophysical Institute 
Deep convection in the subpolar North Atlantic ventilates the ocean for atmospheric gases through the formation of deep water masses. Variability in the intensity of deep convection is believed to have caused large variations in North Atlantic anthropogenic carbon storage over the past decades, but observations of the properties during active convection are missing. Here we document the origin, extent and chemical properties of the deepest winter mixed layers directly observed in the Irminger Sea. As a result of the deep convection in winter 2014–2015, driven by large oceanic heat loss, mid-depth oxygen concentrations were replenished and anthropogenic carbon storage rates almost tripled compared with Irminger Sea hydrographic section data in 1997 and 2003. Our observations provide unequivocal evidence that ocean ventilation and anthropogenic carbon uptake take place in the Irminger Sea and that their efficiency can be directly linked to atmospheric forcing.