A tale of three islands: Downstream natural iron fertilization in the Southern Ocean

Robinson, J.; Popova, E.E.; Srokosz, M.; Yool, A.. 2016 A tale of three islands: Downstream natural iron fertilization in the Southern Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121 (5). 3350-3371.

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Accepted for publication in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. © 2016 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.
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Iron limitation of primary productivity prevails across much of the Southern Ocean but there are exceptions; in particular, the phytoplankton blooms associated with the Kerguelen Plateau, Crozet Islands and South Georgia. These blooms occur annually, fertilized by iron and nutrient-rich shelf waters that are transported downstream from the islands. Here we use a highresolution (1/12°) ocean general circulation model and Lagrangian particle tracking to investigate whether inter-annual variability in the potential lateral advection of iron, could explain the inter-annual variability in the spatial extent of the blooms. Comparison with ocean color data, 1998 to 2007, suggests that iron fertilization via advection can explain the extent of each island's annual bloom, but only the inter-annual variability of the Crozet bloom. The area that could potentially be fertilized by iron from Kerguelen was much larger than the bloom, suggesting that there is another primary limiting factor, potentially silicate, that controls the inter-annual variability of bloom spatial extent. For South Georgia, there are differences in the year-to-year timing of advection and consequently fertilization, but no clear explanation of the inter-annual variability observed in the bloom's spatial extent has been identified. The model results suggest that the Kerguelen and Crozet blooms are terminated by nutrient exhaustion, probably iron and or silicate, whereas the deepening of the mixed layer in winter terminates the South Georgia bloom. Therefore, iron fertilization via lateral advection alone can explain the annual variability of the Crozet bloom, but not fully that of the Kerguelen and South Georgia blooms. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 21699275
Additional Keywords: Natural iron fertilization; Advection; Kerguelen; Crozet; South Georgia
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 26 Apr 2016 14:03 +0 (UTC)

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