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Dissolved iron in the Bermuda region of the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean: seasonal dynamics, mesoscale variability, and physicochemical speciation


Sedwick, PN and Bowie, AR and Church, TM and Cullen, JT and Johnson, RJ and Lohan, MC and Marsay, CM and McGullicuddy Jr, DJ and Sohst, BM and Tabliabue, A and Ussher, SJ, Dissolved iron in the Bermuda region of the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean: seasonal dynamics, mesoscale variability, and physicochemical speciation, Marine Chemistry, 219 Article 103748. ISSN 0304-4203 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2019.103748


Water-column data from seven cruises in 20072008 reveal pronounced temporal and spatial variations in the distribution of dissolved iron (DFe, <0.4μm) over the upper 1000m of the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda, in the western subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. In near-surface waters, DFe exhibits a clear seasonal cycle, increasing from ~0.10.3nM in spring to ~0.41.0nM in summer-early fall. The observed seasonal ranges appear to reflect the extent of winter convective mixing and of summer dust deposition, both of which are closely tied to atmospheric circulation processes. Surface DFe concentrations also show significant (~two-fold) submesoscale lateral variations during summer, perhaps as a result of lateral inhomogeneities in wet deposition and wind-driven mixing. The summer vertical profiles reveal pronounced DFe minima and sometimes deeper maxima in the lower euphotic zone, which likely reflect biological uptake and shallow remineralization, and eddy-driven lateral gradients in these processes. Significant variability is also seen in the mesopelagic zone, with a DFe concentration range of ~0.40.7nM at 1000m depth, which may reflect mesoscale isopycnal displacements and/or lateral advection of iron-rich waters in the lower thermocline. Physicochemical iron speciation measurements indicate that the major fraction of DFe that accumulates in surface waters of the Sargasso Sea during summer is colloidal-sized Fe(III), which appears to be complexed by strong, iron-binding organic ligands. Concentrations of soluble iron (sFe, <0.02μm) were considerably lower than DFe in the upper euphotic zone during summer, except over the subsurface DFe minima, where sFe accounts for ~50100% of the DFe pool. Labile Fe(II), on average, accounted for around 20% of DFe, with maximum concentrations of around 0.1nM in near-surface waters and in the lower thermocline. The seasonal-scale DFe changes that we have documented near Bermuda are of the same magnitude as basin-scale lateral gradients across the North Atlantic, underscoring the importance of time-series observations in understanding the behavior of trace elements in the upper ocean.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:iron, Bermuda region, North Atlantic Ocean, seasonal dynamics, mesoscale variability, physicochemical speciation, Sargasso Sea
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Chemical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition
UTAS Author:Bowie, AR (Professor Andrew Bowie)
ID Code:136878
Year Published:2019
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP0342826)
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2020-01-21
Last Modified:2020-04-29

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