Iron supply to the western subarctic Pacific : Importance of iron export from the Sea of Okhotsk
Iron is an essential nutrient and plays an important role in the control of phytoplankton growth (Martin et al., 1989). Atmospheric dust has been thought to be the most important source of iron, supporting annual biological production in the western subarctic Pacific (WSP) (Duce and Tindale, 1991; Moore et al., 2002). We argue here for another source of iron to the WSP. We found extremely high concentrations of dissolved and particulate iron in the Okhotsk Sea Intermediate Water (OSIW) and the North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW), and water ventilation processes in this region probably control the transport of iron through the intermediate water layer from the continental shelf of the Sea of Okhotsk to wide areas of the WSP. Additionally, our time series data in the Oyashio region of the WSP indicate that the pattern of seasonal changes in dissolved iron concentrations in the surface-mixed layer was similar to that of macronutrients, and that deep vertical water mixing resulted in higher winter concentrations of iron in the surface water of this region. The estimated dissolved iron supply from the iron-rich intermediate waters to the surface waters in the Oyashio region was comparable to or higher than the reported atmospheric dust iron input and thus a major source of iron to these regions. Our data suggest that the consideration of this source of iron is essential in our understanding of spring biological production and biogeochemical cycles in the western subarctic Pacific and the role of the marginal sea.
- Journal of Geophysical Research
Journal of Geophysical Research 112, C10012, 2007-10-11
American Geophysical Union