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Unexpected patterns of carbon export in the Southern Ocean

A recent Science Highlight from the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program highlights the work of SOCCOM researchers Lionel Arteaga, Seth Bushinsky, and Jorge Sarmiento:

 

OCB Science Highlight
July 8, 2020

The Southern Ocean is a major player in driving global distributions of heat, carbon dioxide, and nutrients, making it key to ocean chemistry and the earth’s climate system. In the ocean, biological production and export of organic carbon are commonly linked to places with high nutrient availability. A recent paper, published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, highlighting new observations from robotic profiling floats demonstrates that areas of high carbon export in the Southern Ocean are actually associated with very low concentrations of iron, an important micronutrient for supporting phytoplankton growth. This suggests a decoupling between the production and export of organic carbon in this region.  [read more]