Algal export in the Arctic Ocean in times of global warming

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 1:06pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 05/2019
Authors: Catherine Lalande, Eva‐Maria Nöthig, Louis Fortier
Journal title: Geophysical Research Letters
ISSN: 0094-8276

Satellite‐derived data suggest an increase in annual primary production following the loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. The scarcity of field data to corroborate this enhanced algal production incited a collaborative project combining 6 annual cycles of sequential sediment trap measurements obtained over a 17‐year period in the Eurasian Arctic Ocean. Here, we present microalgal fluxes measured at ~200 m to reflect the bulk of algal carbon production. Ice algae contributed to a large proportion of the microalgal carbon export before complete ice melt and possible detection of their production by satellites. In the northern Laptev Sea, annual microalgal carbon fluxes were lower during the 2007 minimum ice extent than in 2006. In 2012, early snowmelt led to early microalgal carbon flux in the Nansen Basin. Hence, a change in the timing of snowmelt and ice algae release may affect productivity and export over the Arctic basins.

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