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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  10 Jul 2020

10 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Atmospheric Fe supply has a negligible role in promoting marine productivity in the Glacial North Pacific Ocean

Francois Burgay1,2, Andrea Spolaor1,2, Jacopo Gabrieli1,2, Giulio Cozzi1,2, Clara Turetta1,2, Paul Vallelonga3,4, and Carlo Barbante1,2 Francois Burgay et al.
  • 1Institute of Polar Sciences, National Research Council. Via Torino, 155, 3100 Venice, Italy
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Via Torino, 155 – Venice, Italy
  • 3Physics of Ice Climate and Earth, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. Tagensvej 16, Copenhagen N2200, Denmark
  • 4Oceans Graduate School, University of Western Australia, Australia

Abstract. Iron is a key element in the Earth climate system as it can enhance the marine primary productivity in the High-Nutrient Low-Chlorophyll (HNLC) regions where, despite a high concentration of major nutrients, the chlorophyll production is low due to iron limitation. One of the main Fe sources to the ocean is Aeolian dust. For this reason, ice cores provide a sensitive and continuous archive for reconstructing Fe fluxes over the last millennia. Here we show the first Northern Hemisphere Fe record retrieved from the NEEM ice core, which offers a unique opportunity to reconstruct the past Fe fluxes in the Arctic region over the last 108 kyr. Holocene Fe fluxes to the Arctic were three times lower than the average recorded over the last glacial period. They were greater during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the Marine Isotope Stage 4 (MIS 4). Comparing our data with palaeoceanographic records retrieved from the HNLC North Pacific, we demonstrated that during the coldest periods, characterized by the highest Fe fluxes, marine productivity in the subarctic Pacific Ocean did not increase due to a greater sea-ice extent and the absence of upwelling nutrient supply. This supports the hypothesis that Fe-fertilization was more effective in other regions, such as the transition zone of the North Pacific, where a closer relationship between marine productivity and the Aeolian Fe fluxes was observed.

Francois Burgay et al.

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Francois Burgay et al.

Francois Burgay et al.


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Latest update: 26 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We present the first Fe record from NEEM ice core, which provides an insight on the past atmospheric Fe deposition in the Arctic. Considering the biological relevance that Fe has, we questioned if the increased Aeolian Fe supply during glacial periods, can explain the marine productivity variability in the Fe-limited subarctic Pacific Ocean. we found no overwhelming evidence that Aeolian Fe-fertilization triggered any phytoplankton blooms, likely because other factors play a more relevant role.
We present the first Fe record from NEEM ice core, which provides an insight on the past...