Seasonal evolution of hydrographic properties in the Antarctic circumpolar current at 170°W during 1997-1998

J. M. Morrison, S. Gaurin, L. A. Codispoti, T. Takahashi, F. J. Millero, W. D. Gardner, M. J. Richardson

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35 Scopus citations


This paper discusses the seasonal evolution of the hydrographic and biogeochemical properties in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) during the US Joint Global Ocean Flux (JGOFS) Antarctic Environment and Southern Ocean Process Study (AESOPS) in 1997-1998. The location of the study region south of New Zealand along 170°W was selected based on the zonal orientation and meridional separation of the physical and chemical fronts found in that region. Here we endeavor to describe the seasonal changes of the macronutrients, fluorescence chlorophyll particulate organic carbon (POC), and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the upper 400 m of the ACC during the evolution of the seasonal phytoplankton bloom found in this area. While the ACC has extreme variability in the meridional sense (due to fronts, etc.), it appears to be actually quite uniform in the zonal sense. This is reflected by the fact that a good deal of the seasonal zonal changes in nutrients distributions at 170°W follow a pattern that reflects what would be expected if the changes are associated with seasonal biological productivity. Also at 170°W, the productivity of the upper waters does not appear to be limited by availability of phosphate or nitrate. While there is a significant decrease (or uptake) of inorganic nitrogen, phosphate and silicate associated with the seasonal phytoplankton bloom, none of the nutrients, except perhaps silicate (north of the silicate front) are actually depleted within the euphotic zone. At the end of the growing season, nutrient concentrations rapidly approached their pre-bloom levels. Inspection of the ratios of apparent nutrient drawdown near 64°S suggests N/P apparent drawdowns to have a ratio of ∼10 and N/Si apparent drawdowns to have a ratio of > 4. These ratios suggest a bloom that was dominated by Fe limited diatoms. In addition, the surface water in the Polar Front (PF) and the Antarctic Zone (AZ) just to the south of the PF take up atmospheric CO2 at a rate 2-3 times as fast as the mean global ocean rate during the summer season but nearly zero during the rest of year. This represents an important process for the transport of atmospheric CO2 into the deep ocean interior. Finally, the net CO2 utilization or the net community production during the 2.5 growing months between the initiation of phytoplankton blooms and mid-January increase southward from 1.5 mol Cm-2 at 55°S to 2.2 mol Cm-2 to 65°S across the Polar Frontal Zone (PFZ) into the AZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3943-3972
Number of pages30
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue number19-20
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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