Strong Margin Influence on the Arctic Ocean Barium Cycle Revealed by Pan-Arctic Synthesis.
ABSTRACT: Early studies revealed relationships between barium (Ba), particulate organic carbon and silicate, suggesting applications for Ba as a paleoproductivity tracer and as a tracer of modern ocean circulation. But, what controls the distribution of barium (Ba) in the oceans? Here, we investigated the Arctic Ocean Ba cycle through a one-of-a-kind data set containing dissolved (dBa), particulate (pBa), and stable isotope Ba ratio (δ138Ba) data from four Arctic GEOTRACES expeditions conducted in 2015. We hypothesized that margins would be a substantial source of Ba to the Arctic Ocean water column. The dBa, pBa, and δ138Ba distributions all suggest significant modification of inflowing Pacific seawater over the shelves, and the dBa mass balance implies that ∼50% of the dBa inventory (upper 500 m of the Arctic water column) was supplied by nonconservative inputs. Calculated areal dBa fluxes are up to 10 μmol m-2 day-1 on the margin, which is comparable to fluxes described in other regions. Applying this approach to dBa data from the 1994 Arctic Ocean Survey yields similar results. The Canadian Arctic Archipelago did not appear to have a similar margin source; rather, the dBa distribution in this section is consistent with mixing of Arctic Ocean-derived waters and Baffin Bay-derived waters. Although we lack enough information to identify the specifics of the shelf sediment Ba source, we suspect that a sedimentary remineralization and terrigenous sources (e.g., submarine groundwater discharge or fluvial particles) are contributors.
Project description:Riverine fluxes of carbon and inorganic nutrients are increasing in virtually all large permafrost-affected rivers, indicating major shifts in Arctic landscapes. However, it is currently difficult to identify what is causing these changes in nutrient processing and flux because most long-term records of Arctic river chemistry are from small, headwater catchments draining <200 km<sup>2</sup> or from large rivers draining >100,000 km<sup>2</sup>. The interactions of nutrient sources and sinks across these scales are what ultimately control solute flux to the Arctic Ocean. In this context, we performed spatially-distributed sampling of 120 subcatchments nested within three Arctic watersheds spanning alpine, tundra, and glacial-lake landscapes in Alaska. We found that the dominant spatial scales controlling organic carbon and major nutrient concentrations was 3-30 km<sup>2</sup>, indicating a continuum of diffuse and discrete sourcing and processing dynamics. These patterns were consistent seasonally, suggesting that relatively fine-scale landscape patches drive solute generation in this region of the Arctic. These network-scale empirical frameworks could guide and benchmark future Earth system models seeking to represent lateral and longitudinal solute transport in rapidly changing Arctic landscapes.
Project description:In this work, we explore the seasonal relationships (i.e., the phenology) between sea ice retreat, sea surface temperature (SST), and atmospheric heat fluxes in the Pacific Sector of the Arctic Ocean, using satellite and reanalysis data. We find that where ice retreats early in most years, maximum summertime SSTs are usually warmer, relative to areas with later retreat. For any particular year, we find that anomalously early ice retreat generally leads to anomalously warm SSTs. However, this relationship is weak in the Chukchi Sea, where ocean advection plays a large role. It is also weak where retreat in a particular year happens earlier than usual, but still relatively late in the season, primarily because atmospheric heat fluxes are weak at that time. This result helps to explain the very different ocean warming responses found in two recent years with extreme ice retreat, 2007 and 2012. We also find that the timing of ice retreat impacts the date of maximum SST, owing to a change in the ocean surface buoyancy and momentum forcing that occurs in early August that we term the Late Summer Transition (LST). After the LST, enhanced mixing of the upper ocean leads to cooling of the ocean surface even while atmospheric heat fluxes are still weakly downward. Our results indicate that in the near-term, earlier ice retreat is likely to cause enhanced ocean surface warming in much of the Arctic Ocean, although not where ice retreat still occurs late in the season.
Project description:The Arctic Ocean region is currently undergoing dramatic changes, which will likely alter the nutrient cycles that underpin Arctic marine ecosystems. Phosphate is a key limiting nutrient for marine life but gaps in our understanding of the Arctic phosphorus (P) cycle persist. In this study, we investigate the benthic burial and recycling of phosphorus using sediments and pore waters from the Eurasian Arctic margin, including the Barents Sea slope and the Yermak Plateau. Our results highlight that P is generally lost from sediments with depth during organic matter respiration. On the Yermak Plateau, remobilization of P results in a diffusive flux of P to the seafloor of between 96 and 261 µmol m<sup>-2 </sup>yr<sup>-1</sup>. On the Barents Sea slope, diffusive fluxes of P are much larger (1736-2449 µmol m<sup>-2 </sup>yr<sup>-1</sup>), but these fluxes are into near-surface sediments rather than to the bottom waters. The difference in cycling on the Barents Sea slope is controlled by higher fluxes of fresh organic matter and active iron cycling. As changes in primary productivity, ocean circulation and glacial melt continue, benthic P cycling is likely to be altered with implications for P imported into the Arctic Ocean Basin. This article is part of the theme issue 'The changing Arctic Ocean: consequences for biological communities, biogeochemical processes and ecosystem functioning'.
Project description:Pacific Water (PW) enters the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait and brings in heat, fresh water, and nutrients from the northern Bering Sea. The circulation of PW in the central Arctic Ocean is only partially understood due to the lack of observations. In this paper, pathways of PW are investigated using simulations with six state-of-the art regional and global Ocean General Circulation Models (OGCMs). In the simulations, PW is tracked by a passive tracer, released in Bering Strait. Simulated PW spreads from the Bering Strait region in three major branches. One of them starts in the Barrow Canyon, bringing PW along the continental slope of Alaska into the Canadian Straits and then into Baffin Bay. The second begins in the vicinity of the Herald Canyon and transports PW along the continental slope of the East Siberian Sea into the Transpolar Drift, and then through Fram Strait and the Greenland Sea. The third branch begins near the Herald Shoal and the central Chukchi shelf and brings PW into the Beaufort Gyre. In the models, the wind, acting via Ekman pumping, drives the seasonal and interannual variability of PW in the Canadian Basin of the Arctic Ocean. The wind affects the simulated PW pathways by changing the vertical shear of the relative vorticity of the ocean flow in the Canada Basin.
Project description:Arctic amplification is a consequence of surface albedo, cloud, and temperature feedbacks, as well as poleward oceanic and atmospheric heat transport. However, the relative impact of changes in sea surface temperature (SST) patterns and ocean heat flux sourced from different regions on Arctic temperatures are not well constrained. We modify ocean-to-atmosphere heat fluxes in the North Pacific and North Atlantic in a climate model to determine the sensitivity of Arctic temperatures to zonal heterogeneities in northern hemisphere SST patterns. Both positive and negative ocean heat flux perturbations from the North Pacific result in greater global and Arctic surface air temperature anomalies than equivalent magnitude perturbations from the North Atlantic; a response we primarily attribute to greater moisture flux from the subpolar extratropics to Arctic. Enhanced poleward latent heat and moisture transport drive sea-ice retreat and low-cloud formation in the Arctic, amplifying Arctic surface warming through the ice-albedo feedback and infrared warming effect of low clouds. Our results imply that global climate sensitivity may be dependent on patterns of ocean heat flux in the northern hemisphere.
Project description:The Arctic marine biome, shrinking with increasing temperature and receding sea-ice cover, is tightly connected to lower latitudes through the North Atlantic. By flowing northward through the European Arctic Corridor (the main Arctic gateway where 80% of in- and outflow takes place), the North Atlantic Waters transport most of the ocean heat, but also nutrients and planktonic organisms toward the Arctic Ocean. Using satellite-derived altimetry observations, we reveal an increase, up to two-fold, in North Atlantic current surface velocities over the last 24 years. More importantly, we show evidence that the North Atlantic current and its variability shape the spatial distribution of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (Ehux), a tracer for temperate ecosystems. We further demonstrate that bio-advection, rather than water temperature as previously assumed, is a major mechanism responsible for the recent poleward intrusions of southern species like Ehux. Our findings confirm the biological and physical "Atlantification" of the Arctic Ocean with potential alterations of the Arctic marine food web and biogeochemical cycles.
Project description:The impact of the ongoing anthropogenic warming on the Arctic Ocean sea ice is ascertained and closely monitored. However, its long-term fate remains an open question as its natural variability on centennial to millennial timescales is not well documented. Here, we use marine sedimentary records to reconstruct Arctic sea-ice fluctuations. Cores collected along the Lomonosov Ridge that extends across the Arctic Ocean from northern Greenland to the Laptev Sea were radiocarbon dated and analyzed for their micropaleontological and palynological contents, both bearing information on the past sea-ice cover. Results demonstrate that multiyear pack ice remained a robust feature of the western and central Lomonosov Ridge and that perennial sea ice remained present throughout the present interglacial, even during the climate optimum of the middle Holocene that globally peaked ?6,500 y ago. In contradistinction, the southeastern Lomonosov Ridge area experienced seasonally sea-ice-free conditions, at least, sporadically, until about 4,000 y ago. They were marked by relatively high phytoplanktonic productivity and organic carbon fluxes at the seafloor resulting in low biogenic carbonate preservation. These results point to contrasted west-east surface ocean conditions in the Arctic Ocean, not unlike those of the Arctic dipole linked to the recent loss of Arctic sea ice. Hence, our data suggest that seasonally ice-free conditions in the southeastern Arctic Ocean with a dominant Arctic dipolar pattern, may be a recurrent feature under "warm world" climate.
Project description:Midlatitude anthropogenic mercury (Hg) emissions and discharge reach the Arctic Ocean (AO) by atmospheric and oceanic transport. Recent studies suggest that Arctic river Hg inputs have been a potentially overlooked source of Hg to the AO. Observations on Hg in Eurasian rivers, which represent 80% of freshwater inputs to the AO, are quasi-inexistent, however, putting firm understanding of the Arctic Hg cycle on hold. Here, we present comprehensive seasonal observations on dissolved Hg (DHg) and particulate Hg (PHg) concentrations and fluxes for two large Eurasian rivers, the Yenisei and the Severnaya Dvina. We find large DHg and PHg fluxes during the spring flood, followed by a second pulse during the fall flood. We observe well-defined water vs. Hg runoff relationships for Eurasian and North American Hg fluxes to the AO and for Canadian Hg fluxes into the larger Hudson Bay area. Extrapolation to pan-Arctic rivers and watersheds gives a total Hg river flux to the AO of 44 ± 4 Mg per year (1σ), in agreement with the recent model-based estimates of 16 to 46 Mg per year and Hg/dissolved organic carbon (DOC) observation-based estimate of 50 Mg per year. The river Hg budget, together with recent observations on tundra Hg uptake and AO Hg dynamics, provide a consistent view of the Arctic Hg cycle in which continental ecosystems traffic anthropogenic Hg emissions to the AO via rivers, and the AO exports Hg to the atmosphere, to the Atlantic Ocean, and to AO marine sediments.
Project description:Sea ice is an important transport vehicle for gaseous, dissolved and particulate matter in the Arctic Ocean. Due to the recently observed acceleration in sea ice drift, it has been assumed that more matter is advected by the Transpolar Drift from shallow shelf waters to the central Arctic Ocean and beyond. However, this study provides first evidence that intensified melt in the marginal zones of the Arctic Ocean interrupts the transarctic conveyor belt and has led to a reduction of the survival rates of sea ice exported from the shallow Siberian shelves (-15% per decade). As a consequence, less and less ice formed in shallow water areas (<30?m) has reached Fram Strait (-17% per decade), and more ice and ice-rafted material is released in the northern Laptev Sea and central Arctic Ocean. Decreasing survival rates of first-year ice are visible all along the Russian shelves, but significant only in the Kara Sea, East Siberian Sea and western Laptev Sea. Identified changes affect biogeochemical fluxes and ecological processes in the central Arctic: A reduced long-range transport of sea ice alters transport and redistribution of climate relevant gases, and increases accumulation of sediments and contaminates in the central Arctic Ocean, with consequences for primary production, and the biodiversity of the Arctic Ocean.
Project description:The export of deep water from the Arctic to the Atlantic contributes to the formation of North Atlantic Deep Water, a crucial component of global ocean circulation. Records of protactinium-231 (<sup>231</sup>Pa) and thorium-230 (<sup>230</sup>Th) in Arctic sediments can provide a measure of this export, but well-constrained sedimentary budgets of these isotopes have been difficult to achieve in the Arctic Ocean. Previous studies revealed a deficit of <sup>231</sup>Pa in central Arctic sediments, implying that some <sup>231</sup>Pa is either transported to the margins, where it may be removed in areas of higher particle flux, or exported from the Arctic via deep water advection. Here we investigate this "missing sink" of Arctic <sup>231</sup>Pa and find moderately increased <sup>231</sup>Pa deposition along Arctic margins. Nonetheless, we determine that most <sup>231</sup>Pa missing from the central basin must be lost via advection into the Nordic Seas, requiring deep water advection of 1.1 - 6.4 Sv through Fram Strait.