Among the factors affecting the photosynthetic rate of marine phytoplankton, aeolian iron (Fe) fluxes appear to be critical in several large regions of the global ocean. Here we present an analysis of in situ aerosol iron data obtained from a wide variety of marine locations to quantify the seasonal Fe inputs to the global ocean. When extrapolated to the global ocean, our results indicate strong seasonal variations in aeolian Fe fluxes in different oceanic basins. The predominant fraction of the Fe inputs enters the oceans in the Northern Hemisphere, with the summer flux rates ca. twice those of winter. The high Fe fluxes in the Northern Hemisphere are concentrated in low and mid-latitudes. With the promising new data from MODIS aboard the Terra satellite, the linkage between Fe fluxes and phytoplankton biomass and productivity may be soon further quantified.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)