A model of the iron cycle in the ocean

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Archer, D. E., & Johnson, K. (2000). A model of the iron cycle in the ocean. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 14(1), 269-279.
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TitleA model of the iron cycle in the ocean
AuthorsD. Archer, K. Johnson
AbstractThe IRONEX II in situ fertilization experiment showed decisively that availability of iron limits the growth of phytoplankton in equatorial Pacific surface waters. High-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) surface waters, potentially iron limited, are also found in the North Pacific and the Southern Ocean. A model of seawater iron geochemistry has been incorporated into a global ocean circulation and carbon cycle model and tuned to match the observed ocean Fe distribution. The model reproduces the observed HNLC areas in the equatorial Pacific and Southern Ocean but predicts nutrient depletion in the North Pacific (a region of high dust fluxes from Asia). The model is based on the idea that the concentrations of organic iron-binding ligands in seawater control the subsurface Fe concentration and predicts that a majority (70-80%) of the global carbon export production can be sustained by upwelling of dissolved iron in seawater rather than by atmospheric deposition. The ocean iron cycle increases the efficiency of iron utilization in the biological pump, buffers new production against interannual fluctuations in iron deposition, and contributes several new intrinsic timescales to the ocean carbon cycle: several hundred years for the ocean iron concentration and perhaps several thousand for the concentration of ligand in the deep sea. Ocean recycling of Fe appears to play a major role in determining the strength of the biological pump in the ocean and the pCO2 of the atmosphere.
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Date2000
Start page269
End page279
ISSN0886-6236
Subjectsbiogeochemical cycle, biological pump, iron, phytoplankton, Pacific Ocean
NoteCited By (since 1996):117, Oceanography

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