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Large flux of iron from the Amery Ice Shelf marine ice to Prydz Bay, East Antarctica


Herraiz-Borreguero, L and Lannuzel, D and van der Merwe, P and Treverrow, A and Pedro, JB, Large flux of iron from the Amery Ice Shelf marine ice to Prydz Bay, East Antarctica, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121, (8) pp. 6009-6020. ISSN 2169-9275 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1002/2016JC011687


The Antarctic continental shelf supports a high level of marine primary productivity and is a globally important carbon dioxide (CO2) sink through the photosynthetic fixation of CO2 via the biological pump. Sustaining such high productivity requires a large supply of the essential micronutrient iron (Fe); however, the pathways for Fe delivery to these zones vary spatially and temporally. Our study is the first to report a previously unquantified source of concentrated bioavailable Fe to Antarctic surface waters. We hypothesize that Fe derived from subglacial processes is delivered to euphotic waters through the accretion (Fe storage) and subsequent melting (Fe release) of a marine-accreted layer of ice at the base of the Amery Ice Shelf (AIS). Using satellite-derived Chlorophyll-a data, we show that the soluble Fe supplied by the melting of the marine ice layer is an order of magnitude larger than the required Fe necessary to sustain the large annual phytoplankton bloom in Prydz Bay. Our finding of high concentrations of Fe in AIS marine ice and recent data on increasing rates of ice shelf basal melt in many of Antarctica's ice shelves should encourage further research into glacial and marine sediment transport beneath ice shelves and their sensitivity to current changes in basal melt. Currently, the distribution, volume, and Fe concentration of Antarctic marine ice is poorly constrained. This uncertainty, combined with variable forecasts of increased rates of ice shelf basal melt, limits our ability to predict future Fe supply to Antarctic coastal waters.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:iron, ice shelves, Antarctica
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Chemical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Lannuzel, D (Associate Professor Delphine Lannuzel)
UTAS Author:van der Merwe, P (Dr Pier van der Merwe)
UTAS Author:Treverrow, A (Dr Adam Treverrow)
ID Code:111806
Year Published:2016
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DE120100030)
Web of Science® Times Cited:39
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2016-10-07
Last Modified:2017-11-30
Downloads:165 View Download Statistics

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