Oceanographic processes in the subantarctic region contribute crucially to the physical and biogeochemical aspects of the global climate system. To explore and quantify these contributions, the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) organised the SAZ Project, a multidisciplinary, multiship investigation carried out south of Australia in the austral summer of 1997-1998.
Taken from the abstracts of the referenced papers:
The SAZ project organised by the Antarctic CRC has a continuing program of moored sinking particle trap studies in the Aub-Antarctic and Polar Frontal zones southwest of Tasmania along 140 degrees E. The first deployment obtained weekly or higher resolution samples through the austral summer from September 1997 through February 1998 at three locations: the central Sub-Antarctic Zone (47 degrees S, traps at 1000, 2000 and 3800 m depth), the Sub-Antarctic Front (51 degrees S, 1 trap at 3300 m) and above the Southeast Indian Ridge in the Polar Frontal Zone (54 degrees S, 2 traps at 800 and 1500 m). The particles were analysed for total mass, inorganic carbon, total carbon, nitrogen, silicon, and aluminium. Hence values for organic carbon, biogenic silica, and lithogenics were obtained, and the mass fluxes calculated. This report details the sites, moorings, data from the current meters and sediment traps, and results of analyses performed on the collected sediment trap material.
Sediment trap moorings were deployed from September 21, 1997 through February 21, 1998 at three locations south of Australia along 140 degrees E: at -47 degrees S in the central Subantarctic Zone (SAZ) with traps at 1060, 2050, and 3850 m depth, at-51 degrees S in the Subantarctic Front with one trap at 3080m, and at -54 degrees S in the Polar Front Zone(PFZ) with traps at 830 and 1580m. Particle fluxes were high at all the sites (18-32gm-2 yr-1 total mass and 0.5-1.4g organic carbon m-2 yr-1 at ~1000m, assuming minimal flux outside the sampled summer period). These values are similar to other Southern Ocean results and to the median estimated for the global ocean by Lampitt and Antia , and emphasise that the Southern Ocean exports considerable carbon to the deep sea despite its "high-nutrient, low chlorophyll" characteristics. The SAZ site was dominated by carbonate (greater than 50% of total mass) and the PFZ site by biogenic silica (greater than 50% of total mass). Both sites exhibited high export in spring and late summer, with an intervening low flux period in December. For the 153 day collection period, particulate organic carbon export was somewhat higher in all the traps in the SAZ (range 0.57-0.84 gC m -L) than in the PFZ (range 0.31-0.53), with an intermediate value observed at the SAF (0.60). The fraction of surface organic carbon export (estimated from seasonal nutrient depletion, Lourey and Trull ) reaching 1000 m was indistinguishable in the SAZ and PFZ, despite different algal communities.