Roukaerts Arnout

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  • Article
    Nitrate supply routes and impact of internal cycling in the North Atlantic Ocean inferred from nitrate isotopic composition
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-04-02) Deman, Florian ; Fonseca-Batista, Debany ; Roukaerts, Arnout ; García-Ibáñez, Maribel I. ; Le Roy, Emilie ; Thilakarathne, E. P. D. N. ; Elskens, Marc ; Dehairs, Frank ; Fripiat, Francois
    In this study we report full-depth water column profiles for nitrogen and oxygen isotopic composition (δ15N and δ18O) of nitrate (NO3−) during the GEOTRACES GA01 cruise (2014). This transect intersects the double gyre system of the subtropical and subpolar regions of the North Atlantic separated by a strong transition zone, the North Atlantic Current. The distribution of NO3− δ15N and δ18O shows that assimilation by phytoplankton is the main process controlling the NO3− isotopic composition in the upper 150 m, with values increasing in a NO3− δ18O versus δ15N space along a line with a slope of one toward the surface. In the subpolar gyre, a single relationship between the degree of NO3− consumption and residual NO3− δ15N supports the view that NO3− is supplied via Ekman upwelling and deep winter convection, and progressively consumed during the Ekman transport of surface water southward. The co-occurrence of partial NO3− assimilation and nitrification in the deep mixed layer of the subpolar gyre elevates subsurface NO3− δ18O in comparison to deep oceanic values. This signal propagates through isopycnal exchanges to greater depths at lower latitudes. With recirculation in the subtropical gyre, cycles of quantitative consumption-nitrification progressively decrease subsurface NO3− δ18O toward the δ18O of regenerated NO3−. The low NO3− δ15N observed south of the Subarctic Front is mostly explained by N2 fixation, although a contribution from the Mediterranean outflow is required to explain the lower NO3− δ15N signal observed between 600 and 1500 m depth close to the Iberian margin.