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Biological modification of carbonate chemistry in dense water outflows from the Mertz Polynya, East Antarctica


Shadwick, EH and Tilbrook, BD and Williams, GD and Rintoul, SR, Biological modification of carbonate chemistry in dense water outflows from the Mertz Polynya, East Antarctica, International Symposium on Sea Ice in a Changing Environment - Proceedings of the Hobart Symposium, 10-14 March 2014, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, pp. 69A778. (2014) [Conference Extract]


Polynyas, areas of open water with in the sea-ice pack, are often biologically productive, and are sites of enhanced air–sea exchange. The Mertz polynya is formed in East Antarctica by persistent katabatic winds and an ice barrier created by the Mertz Glacier Tongue. The region plays a significant role in the formation of dense shelf water (DSW) primarily due to salt rejection during intense sea-ice formation. Physical and biogeochemical observations indicate that primary production over the shelf in spring/summer preconditions the dense water outflows, supplying both organic material, and water depleted in CO2, to coral and sponge communities on the continental slope. The formation and export of DSW also plays a role in the transfer of anthropogenic CO2 to the deep ocean. In February 2010 a large piece of ice (~70 km long and ~35 km wide) calved from the Mertz Glacier Tongue, dramatically changing the regional fast-ice and pack-ice distributions. The physical and biogeochemical consequences of this event (based on observations pre- and post-calving) included significant surface freshening, a twofold enhancement of biological production, and an increase in the carbonate saturation state.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Polynyas, Mertz polynya, East Antarctica, carbonate chemistry
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Chemical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Measurement and assessment of estuarine water quality
UTAS Author:Shadwick, EH (Dr Elizabeth Shadwick)
UTAS Author:Tilbrook, BD (Dr Bronte Tilbrook)
UTAS Author:Williams, GD (Associate Professor Guy Williams)
UTAS Author:Rintoul, SR (Dr Steve Rintoul)
ID Code:96903
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2014-11-25
Last Modified:2014-11-25

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