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Hydrothermal contribution to the oceanic dissolved iron inventory

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 04:54 authored by Tagliabue, A, Boop, L, Dutay, JC, Andrew BowieAndrew Bowie, Chever, F, Jean-Baptiste, P, Bucciarelli, E, Delphine LannuzelDelphine Lannuzel, Tomas Remenyi, Sarthou, G, Aumont, O, Gehlen, M, Jeandel, C
Iron limits phytoplankton growth and hence the biological carbon pump in the Southern Ocean1. Models assessing the impacts of iron on the global carbon cycle generally rely on dust input and sediment resuspension as the predominant sources2,3. Although it was previously thought that most iron from deep-ocean hydrothermal activity was inaccessible to phytoplankton because of the formation of particulates4, it has been suggested that iron from hydrothermal activity5-7 may be an important source of oceanic dissolved iron8-13. Here we use a global ocean model to assess the impacts of an annual dissolved iron flux of approximately 9 108 mol, as estimated from regional observations of hydrothermal activity11,12, on the dissolved iron inventory of the world's oceans. We find the response to the input of hydrothermal dissolved iron is greatest in the Southern Hemisphere oceans. In particular, observations of the distribution of dissolved iron in the Southern Ocean3 (Chever et al., manuscript in preparation; Bowie et al., manuscript in preparation) can be replicated in our simulations only when our estimated iron flux from hydrothermal sources is included. As the hydrothermal flux of iron is relatively constant over millennial timescales14, we propose that hydrothermal activity can buffer the oceanic dissolved iron inventory against shorter-term fluctuations in dust deposition.


Publication title

Nature Geoscience








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Nature Publishing Group

Place of publication

New York, USA

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Copyright © 2011 Nature Publishing Group

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Socio-economic Objectives

Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition

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