Modeling the global ocean iron cycle
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We describe a model of the ocean transport and biogeochemical cycling of iron and the subsequent control on export production and macronutrient distributions. Ocean transport of phosphorus and iron are represented by a highly idealized six-box ocean model. Export production is parameterized simply; it is limited by light, phosphate, and iron availability in the surface ocean. We prescribe the regional variations in aeolian deposition of iron and examine three parameterizations of iron cycling in the deep ocean: (1) net scavenging onto particles, the simplest model; (2) scavenging and desorption of iron to and from particles, analogous to thorium; and (3) complexation. Provided that some unknown parameter values can be set appropriately, all three biogeochemical models are capable of reproducing the broad features of the iron distribution observed in the modern ocean and explicitly lead to regions of elevated surface phosphate, particularly in the Southern Ocean. We compare the sensitivity of Southern Ocean surface macronutrient concentration to increased aeolian dust supply for each parameterization. Both scavenging-based representations respond to increasing dust supply with a drawdown of surface phosphate in an almost linear relationship. The complexation parameterization, however, asymptotes toward a limited drawdown of phosphate under the assumption that ligand production does not respond to increased dust flux. In the scavenging based models, deep water iron concentrations and, therefore, upwelled iron continually increase with greater dust supply. In contrast, the availability of complexing ligand provides an upper limit for the deep water iron concentration in the latter model.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2004. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles 18 (2004): GB1002, doi:10.1029/2003GB002061.
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