Temperate, transitional and subtropical waters of the remote Azores Front region east of Azores (24-40°N, 22-32°W) were sampled during three cruises conducted under increasing stratification conditions (April 1999, May 1997 and August 1998). Despite the temporal increase of surface temperature (by 5 °C) and stratification (by 2.1 1/min**2), as well as the thermocline shoaling (by ~15 m), dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (DON) in the surface layer were not significantly different for the early spring, late spring and summer periods, with average concentrations of 69±2 µM-C and 5.2±0.4 µM-N, respectively. The surface excess of semi-labile DOC, compared with the baseline DOC concentration in the deep ocean (47±2 µM-C), represents 33% of the bulk DOC concentration and as much as 85% of the TOC (=POC+DOC) excess. When compared with the winter baseline (56±2 µM-C), the seasonal surface DOC excess is 20% of the bulk DOC concentration and 87% of the seasonal TOC excess. These results confirm the major role played by DOC in the carbon cycle of surface waters of the Azores Front region. The total amount of bioreactive DOC transported from the temperate to the subtropical North Atlantic by the Ekman flux between March and December represents only ~15% of the average annual primary production, and ~15% and ~30% of the measured sinking POC flux+vertical DOC eddy diffusion during early spring and summer, respectively. Vertical eddy diffusion is 35% and 2% of the spring and summer sinking POC flux, respectively. On the other hand, DOC only contributes 13% to the local oxidation of organic matter in subsurface waters (between the pycnocline and 500 m) of the study region.
text/tab-separated-values, 864 data points