Can Asian dust trigger phytoplankton blooms in the oligotrophic northern South China Sea?
Article first published online: 15 MAR 2012
Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 39, Issue 5, March 2012
How to Cite
2012), Can Asian dust trigger phytoplankton blooms in the oligotrophic northern South China Sea?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L05811, doi:10.1029/2011GL050415., , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 15 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 15 MAR 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 FEB 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 9 FEB 2012
- Manuscript Received: 21 NOV 2011
- Asian dust;
- South China Sea;
- dust flux
 Satellite data estimate a high dust deposition flux (∼18 g m−2 a−1) into the northern South China Sea (SCS). However, observational evidence concerning any biological response to dust fertilization is sparse. In this study, we combined long-term aerosol and chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) measurements from satellite sensors (MODIS and SeaWiFS) with a 16-year record of dust events from surface PM10observations to investigate dust transport, flux, and the changes in Chl-a concentration over the northern SCS. Our result revealed that readily identifiable strong dust events over this region, although relatively rare (6 cases since 1994) and accounting for only a small proportion of the total dust deposition (∼0.28 g m−2 a−1), do occur and could significantly enhance phytoplankton blooms. Following such events, the Chl-a concentration increased up to 4-fold, and generally doubled the springtime background value (0.15 mg m−3). We suggest these heavy dust events contain readily bioavailable iron and enhance the phytoplankton growth in the oligotrophic northern SCS.