Modeling seasonal phosphate export and resupply in the Subantarctic and Polar Frontal Zones in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean
Wang, X and Matear, R and Trull, T, Modeling seasonal phosphate export and resupply in the Subantarctic and Polar Frontal Zones in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, (C12) pp. 31525-31541. ISSN 0148-0227 (2001) [Refereed Article]
We developed and applied a one-dimensional (z) biophysical model to the Subantarctic Zone (SAZ) and the Polar Frontal Zone (PFZ) to simulate seasonal phosphate export production and resupply. The physical component of our model was capable of reproducing the observed seasonal amplitude of sea surface temperature and mixed layer depth. In the biological component of the model we used incident light, mixed layer depth, phosphate availability, and estimates of phytoplankton biomass from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor to determine production and tuned the model to reproduce the observed seasonal cycle of phosphate. We carried out a series of sensitivity studies, taking into account uncertainties in both physical fields and biological formulations (including potential influence of iron limitation), which led to several robust conclusions (as represented by the ranges below). The major growing season contributed 66-76% of the annual export production in both regions. The simulated annual export production was significantly higher in the PFZ (68-83 mmol P m-2) than in the SAZ (52-61 mmol P m-2) despite the PFZ's having lower seasonal nutrient depletion. The higher export production in the PFZ was due to its greater resupply of phosphate to the upper ocean during the September to March period (27-37 mmol P m-2) relative to that in the SAZ (8-15 mmol P m-2). Hence seasonal nutrient depletion was a better estimate of seasonal export production in the SAZ, as demonstrated by its higher ratio of seasonal depletion/export (64-78%) relative to that in the PFZ (34-47%). In the SAZ, vertical mixing was the dominant mechanism for supplying phosphate to the euphotic zone, whereas in the PFZ, vertical mixing supplied only 37% of the phosphate to the euphotic zone and horizontal transport supplied the remaining 63%. Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union.