# What is the importance of mixing caused by outgassing in the ocean?

I have been asked the following question for which I have no clear answer: What is the relative importance on mixing of the vertical flow of gases (e.g., Oxygen produced by photosynthesis, CO2 produced in respiration, methane produce from hydrates) in the ocean water column? How does the mixing compare with physical mixing (e.g., wind, internal wave breaking) and molecular diffusion?

My first thought is that the ocean tends to not be saturated in oxygen and CO2, but is there some outgassing as a result of those processes? The question of methane hydrates is probably more complex and likely has links to climate change.

• I am curious, but I am having a hard time understanding the question - there seem to be a few questions embedded in here. Is it possible to construct a single, more concise question? – Isopycnal Oscillation Nov 2 '14 at 7:11
• @IsopycnalOscillation: I think it's pretty clear: The ocean is mixed by a number of processes (meridional overturning, thermohaline overturning, diffusion, eddies, giant squid...). One of those sources of mixing is up-welling gasses released by the ocean floor. How important is that source relative to all of the others combined (once you take absorption into account)? – naught101 Feb 9 '16 at 1:42
• @naught101 Totally agree. Not sure what I was thinking. Great question. – Isopycnal Oscillation Feb 9 '16 at 23:45

Outgassing is a process by which $O_{2}$, $CO_{2}$ and other chemicals are released as a result of heat or increase in temperature. It is different from advection and diffusion which are mixing processes as a result of temperature and concentration gradient. Outgassing is an abrupt release of gases from where they are stored trapped dissolved, in this case $O_{2}$ and $CO_{2}$ in the ocean. Like the ocean some materials are prone to outgassing when heated. For example chemicals released from plastics (e.g. the odor of a new car).