Netherlands Polar Data Center

Publication - Dissolved Fe in the Deep and Upper Arctic Ocean With a Focus on Fe Limitation in the Nansen Basin


Global warming resulting from the release of anthropogenic carbon dioxide is rapidly changing the Arctic Ocean. Over the last decade sea ice declined in extent and thickness. As a result, improved light availability has increased Arctic net primary production, including in under-ice phytoplankton blooms. During the GEOTRACES cruise PS94 in the summer of 2015 we measured dissolved iron (DFe), nitrate and phosphate throughout the central part of the Eurasian Arctic. In the deeper waters concentrations of DFe were higher, which we relate to resuspension on the continental slope in the Nansen Basin and hydrothermal activity at the Gakkel Ridge. The main source of DFe in the surface was the Trans Polar Drift (TPD), resulting in concentrations up to 4.42 nM. Nevertheless, using nutrient ratios we show that a large under-ice bloom in the Nansen basin was limited by Fe. Fe limitation potentially prevented up to 54% of the available nitrate and nitrite from being used for primary production. In the Barents Sea, Fe is expected to be the first nutrient to be depleted as well. Changes in the Arctic biogeochemical cycle of Fe due to retreating ice may therefore have large consequences for primary production, the Arctic ecosystem and the subsequent drawdown of carbon dioxide.


Micha J. A. RijkenbergRoyal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
Hans A. SlagterRoyal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
Michiel Rutgers van der LoeffAlfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Jan van OoijenRoyal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
Loes J. A. GerringaRoyal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)


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