Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Southern Ocean iron cycle gives new insight into climate change

Date:
March 16, 2014
Source:
University of Liverpool
Summary:
Unique aspects of iron cycling in the Southern Ocean which will better inform scientists about the effects of climate change, research demonstrates. An international team of researchers analyzed the available data taken from all previous studies of the Southern Ocean, together with satellite images taken of the area, to quantify the amount of iron supplied to the surface waters of the Southern Ocean. They found that deep winter mixing, a seasonal process which carries colder and deeper, nutrient-rich water to the surface, plays the most important role in transporting iron to the surface. The iron is then able to stimulate phytoplankton growth which supports the ocean's carbon cycle and the aquatic food chain

An international team of researchers analyzed the available data taken from all previous studies of the Southern Ocean, together with satellite images taken of the area, to quantify the amount of iron supplied to the surface waters of the Southern Ocean.

Related Articles


They found that deep winter mixing, a seasonal process which carries colder and deeper, nutrient-rich water to the surface, plays the most important role in transporting iron to the surface. The iron is then able to stimulate phytoplankton growth which supports the ocean's carbon cycle and the aquatic food chain

They were also able to determine that following the winter iron surge, a recycling process is necessary to support biological activity during the spring and summer seasons.

Oceanographer, Dr Alessandro Tagliabue, from the University's School of Environmental Sciences, said: "We combined all available iron data, matched them with physical data from autonomous profiling floats and used the latest satellite estimates of biological iron demand to explore how iron is supplied to the phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean.

"This is important because iron limits biological productivity and air to sea CO2 exchange in this region. We found unique aspects to the iron cycle and how it is supplied by physical processes, making it distinct to other nutrients.

"This means that the Southern Ocean's nutrient supply would be affected by changes to the climate system (such as winds and freshwater input) differently to other areas of the ocean.

"We need to understand these unique aspects so that they can be used to better inform global climate predictions."

Dr Jean-Baptiste Sallée, from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the British Antarctic Survey, said: "We are really excited to make this discovery because until now we didn't know the physical processes allowing iron to reach the ocean surface and maintain biological activity. The combination of strong winds and intense heat loss in winter strongly mixes the ocean surface and the mixing reaches deep iron reservoir."

The Southern Ocean comprises the southernmost waters of the world oceans that encircle Antarctica. Researchers have long known the region is crucial in the uptake of atmospheric CO2 and that biological processes in the Southern Ocean influence the global ocean system via northward flowing currents.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alessandro Tagliabue, Jean-Baptiste Sallée, Andrew R. Bowie, Marina Lévy, Sebastiaan Swart, Philip W. Boyd. Surface-water iron supplies in the Southern Ocean sustained by deep winter mixing. Nature Geoscience, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2101

Cite This Page:

University of Liverpool. "Southern Ocean iron cycle gives new insight into climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140316153229.htm>.
University of Liverpool. (2014, March 16). Southern Ocean iron cycle gives new insight into climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140316153229.htm
University of Liverpool. "Southern Ocean iron cycle gives new insight into climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140316153229.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Ancient techniques of growing greens with fish and water are well ahead of Toronto bylaws. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Newsy (Jan. 27, 2015) — The Food and Agriculture Organization says millions could face famine in Madagascar without more funding to finish locust eradication efforts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday, but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — A huge plume of smoke shoots into the air as activity in Mexico&apos;s Volcano of Fire picks up again. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins