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Iron Supply Pathways Between the Surface and Subsurface Waters of the Southern Ocean: From Winter Entrainment to Summer Storms

Journal article
Authors S. A. Nicholson
M. Levy
J. Jouanno
X. Capet
Sebastiaan Swart
P. M. S. Monteiro
Published in Geophysical Research Letters
Pages 9
ISSN 0094-8276
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of marine sciences
Pages 9
Language en
Keywords storms, seasonal iron supply, winter entrainment, eddy advection, fronts, Southern Ocean, sub-antarctic zone, seasonal restratification, phytoplankton biomass, cycle, chlorophyll, mechanisms, dynamics, model, Geology
Subject categories Marine ecology


Dissolved iron (DFe) plays an immeasurable role in shaping the biogeochemical processes of the open-ocean Southern Ocean. However, due to observational constraints iron supply pathways remain poorly understood. Using an idealized eddy-resolving physical-biogeochemical model representing a turbulent sector of the Southern Ocean with seasonal buoyancy forcing and zonal winds overlaid by storms, we quantify the importance of a range of subsurface and surface iron supply mechanisms. The main physical supply pathways to the surface layer are via eddy advection and winter convective mixing in equal proportions. The associated subsurface loss of DFe is restocked via net remineralization (75%) and eddy advection (25%). Summer storms resulted in weak DFe supplies relative to the seasonal supplies (<7.6%). However, in situations of deep summer mixed layers and when interacting with underlying ocean fronts, summer storms resulted in enhanced diffusive and advective DFe supplies and raised summer primary production by 20% for several days.

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