Iron in the Ross Sea: 2. Impact of discrete iron addition strategies

  • Arrigo K
  • Tagliabue A
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Presented are results of a regional-scale numerical investigation into the effectiveness of Fe fertilization as a means to increase the efficiency of the biological pump in Fe-limited waters of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. This investigation was conducted using a modified version of the Coupled Ice And Ocean (CIAO) ecosystem model of the Ross Sea sector of the Southern Ocean. Four sets of experiments were performed, investigating the impacts of differences in (1) timing of fertilization, (2) duration of fertilization, (3) amount of Fe added, and (4) size of the fertilized patch. Results show that the stimulation of air-sea CO2 exchange (FCO2) depends primarily on the timing of fertilization, regardless of the amount of Fe added. When Fe was added at the optimal time of year, FCO2 from the atmosphere into the Ross Sea was increased by 3?22%, depending on fertilization strategy. Increasing patch size produced the largest response, and increasing initial Fe concentration produced the smallest. In all cases, as the intensity of Fe fertilization increased, the fertilization efficiency (increase in CO2 uptake per unit added Fe) dropped. Strategies that maximized the fertilization efficiency resulted in relatively little additional CO2 being drawn out of the atmosphere. To markedly increase oceanic uptake of atmospheric CO2 would require the addition of large amounts of Fe due to the low fertilization efficiencies associated with maximum air-sea CO2 exchange. Our results also show that differences in the fertilization strategy should be kept in mind when comparing the results of different Fe fertilization experiments.

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  • Kevin R. Arrigo

  • Alessandro Tagliabue

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