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Abstract

Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) is a ubiquitous component of the open ocean dissolved matter pool, and is important owing to its influence on the optical properties of the water column, its role in photochemistry and photobiology, and its utility as a tracer of deep ocean biogeochemical processes and circulation. In this review, we discuss the global distribution and dynamics of CDOM in the ocean, concentrating on developments in the past 10 years and restricting our discussion to open ocean and deep ocean (below the main thermocline) environments. CDOM has been demonstrated to exert primary control on ocean color by its absorption of light energy, which matches or exceeds that of phytoplankton pigments in most cases. This has important implications for assessing the ocean biosphere via ocean color–based remote sensing and the evaluation of ocean photochemical and photobiological processes. The general distribution of CDOM in the global ocean is controlled by a balance between production (primarily microbial remineralization of organic matter) and photolysis, with vertical ventilation circulation playing an important role in transporting CDOM to and from intermediate water masses. Significant decadal-scale fluctuations in the abundance of global surface ocean CDOM have been observed using remote sensing, indicating a potentially important role for CDOM in ocean-climate connections through its impact on photochemistry and photobiology.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-marine-120710-100751
2013-01-03
2024-06-16
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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