Iron Released from the Melting of Antarctic Glaciers
Alderkamp, A.-C., Mills, M.M., van Dijken, G.L., Laan, P., Thuroczy, C.-E., Gerringa, L.J.A., de Baar, H.J.W., Payne, C.D., Visser, R.J.W., Buma, A.G.J. and Arrigo, K.R. 2012. Iron from melting glaciers fuels phytoplankton blooms in the Amundsen Sea (Southern Ocean): Phytoplankton characteristics and productivity. Deep-Sea Research II 71-76: 32-48.
Against this backdrop and working under the aegis of the dynamic light and Fe (DynaLiFe) program - an international collaboration that was part of the International Polar Year - Alderkamp et al. set out to determine how the phytoplankton community composition, together with the productivity of waters in the Amundsen Sea and surrounding sea ice zone, were impacted by iron (Fe) input from melting glaciers. In doing so, the eleven-member research team found that "high Fe input from glaciers such as the Pine Island Glacier, and the Dotson and Crosson ice shelves resulted in dense phytoplankton blooms in surface waters of Pine Island Bay, Pine Island Polynya, and Amundsen Polynya," such that water column productivity in these regions was "approximately twice as high as in the sea ice zone." The significance of such finding is revealed in the authors' additional comments that "the high phytoplankton productivity as a result of glacial input of dissolved Fe is the first evidence that melting glaciers have the potential to increase phytoplankton productivity and thereby CO2 uptake, resulting in a small negative feedback to anthropogenic CO2 emissions."
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