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Quantifying the influence of sub-mesoscale dynamics on the supply of iron to Southern Ocean phytoplankton blooms


Rosso, I and Hogg, AMcC and Matear, R and Strutton, PG, Quantifying the influence of sub-mesoscale dynamics on the supply of iron to Southern Ocean phytoplankton blooms, Deep-Sea Research I, 115 pp. 199-209. ISSN 0967-0637 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2016.06.009


Southern Ocean phytoplankton growth is limited by iron. Episodes of natural iron fertilisation are pivotal to triggering phytoplankton blooms in this region, the Kerguelen Plateau bloom being one prominent example. Numerous physical mechanisms that may supply iron to the euphotic zone in the Kerguelen Plateau region, and hence trigger a phytoplankton bloom, have been identified. However, the impact of sub-mesoscale flows in delivering iron has been omitted. With a scale of order 10ákm, sub-mesoscale filaments and fronts can dramatically increase vertical velocities and iron transport.

An innovative technique is developed to investigate the role of vertical advection associated with sub-mesoscale features on the supply of iron to the photic zone. First, Lagrangian trajectories are calculated using three dimensional velocity fields from high resolution numerical simulations; iron concentration is then computed along these Lagrangian trajectories. The contribution of mesoscale- (1/20░ resolution) and sub-mesoscale-resolving models (1/80░ resolution) is compared, thereby revealing the sensitivity of iron supply to horizontal resolution. Iron fluxes are clearly enhanced by a factor of 2 with the resolution, thus showing that the vertical motion induced by the sub-mesoscales represents a previously neglected process to drive iron into the photic waters of the Kerguelen Plateau.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ocean productivity
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Strutton, PG (Professor Peter Strutton)
ID Code:114284
Year Published:2016
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (CE1101028)
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2017-02-09
Last Modified:2018-03-28

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