Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-61
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-61

  09 Aug 2021

09 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Evidence for iceberg fertilization of the NW Atlantic

Grant Robert Bigg1, Quentin Jutard2,a, and Robert Marsh3 Grant Robert Bigg et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, U. K.
  • 2ENSTA ParisTech, 1024, Boulevard des Maréchaux, 91762 Palaiseau Cedex, France
  • 3School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, U. K.
  • apresent address: Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche S/Mer, Sorbonne Université, 4 place Jussieu, 75005 France

Abstract. Icebergs are known to have a significant fertilizing impact on primary productivity in the Southern Ocean, but this link is yet to be investigated in the Northern Hemisphere. This study combines sightings of icebergs with satellite-derived ocean colour data from 1998 to 2015, to seek such a relationship in the NW Atlantic. Despite the obscuring coincidence of the seasonal iceberg flux with the spring bloom of chlorophyll, it is shown that there is a large-scale, one-month-lagged regional correlation between iceberg flux and chlorophyll levels. In addition, a spatial time-lag analysis is consistent with the main cause for the iceberg-chlorophyll relationship being through advection of the nutrients entrained in iceberg meltwater. This leads to a delayed fertilization response of 2–4 weeks. There are a range of possible sources for the nutrients likely leading to this delayed response. The Northern Hemisphere impact of iceberg meltwater on primary production is much less pronounced than in the Southern Ocean, but it is discernible.

Grant Robert Bigg et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Review os-2021-61', Anonymous Referee #1, 30 Aug 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Grant Bigg, 20 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on os-2021-61', Delphine Lannuzel, 23 Sep 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Grant Bigg, 20 Oct 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on os-2021-61', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Sep 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Grant Bigg, 20 Oct 2021
  • RC4: 'Comment on os-2021-61', Delphine Lannuzel, 23 Sep 2021
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC4', Grant Bigg, 20 Oct 2021

Grant Robert Bigg et al.

Grant Robert Bigg et al.

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Short summary
Icebergs fertilize the Southern Ocean, enhancing phytoplankton production, but this link is yet to be found in the Arctic. This study seeks such a relationship in the NW Atlantic. A one-month-lagged correlation between iceberg flux and chlorophyll levels is found, with the likely cause for this link through advection of the nutrients entrained in iceberg meltwater. The impact of iceberg meltwater on Arctic phytoplankton is much less pronounced than in the Southern Ocean, but it is discernible.