Atmospheric iron delivery and surface ocean biological activity in the Southern Ocean and Patagonian region

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Abstract

[1] Iron is a limiting nutrient for biologic activity in much of the world ocean. We present a method to quantitatively address the response of surface ocean biology to inputs of atmospheric Fe associated with atmospheric dust. We merge two enabling technologies, global models of Earth system processes and satellite derived chlorophyll concentrations to assess the importance of Fe in oceanic biogeochemistry. We present an objective correlation analysis to elucidate the spatial response of chlorophyll to iron flux considering the ocean surface meridional center of mass in areas with high correlation. Several regions between 40°S and 60°S show correlations from 0.6 to 0.95, significant at the 0.05 level, particularly the Patagonian region. Surface chlorophyll and iron flux follow similar patterns, however chlorophyll may be displaced to different latitudes than where Fe input occurs due to meridional ocean transport.

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