Major lithogenic contributions to the distribution and budget of iron in the North Pacific Ocean.

Research paper by Linjie L Zheng, Yoshiki Y Sohrin

Indexed on: 15 Aug '19Published on: 14 Aug '19Published in: Scientific Reports


Recent studies have elucidated that iron (Fe) is a critical trace metal that influences the productivity of marine ecosystems and the biogeochemical cycles of other elements in the modern ocean. However, our understanding of the biogeochemistry of Fe remains incomplete. Herein, we report basin-scale and full-depth sectional distributions of total dissolvable iron (tdFe), dissolved iron (dFe), and labile particulate iron (lpFe = tdFe - dFe) in the North Pacific Ocean, as observed during three cruises of the GEOTRACES Japan program. We found that lpFe dominates tdFe and is significantly correlated with labile particulate aluminum (lpAl): lpFe [nmol kg] = (0.544 ± 0.005) lpAl [nmol kg] + 0.11 ± 0.04, r = 0.968, n = 432. The results indicate a major lithogenic contribution to the distribution of particulate Fe. For dFe, the unique distribution is attributed to the combined effects of biogeochemical cycling, manganese reduction, and lithogenic contribution. Based on concurrent observations of Fe, Al, and manganese (Mn), we infer that the width of the boundary scavenging zone is approximately 500 km off the Aleutian shelf. We estimate the inventory of tdFe in the North Pacific as 1.1 × 10 mol, which is approximately four times that of dFe. Our results emphasize the potential importance of lpFe in the ocean's iron cycle.