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The biogeochemical impact of glacial meltwater from Southwest Greenland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number102126
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Oceanography
Volume176
Early online date17 Jun 2019
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 15 Jun 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jun 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Sep 2019

Abstract

Biogeochemical cycling in high-latitude regions has a disproportionate impact on global nutrient budgets. Here, we introduce a holistic, multi-disciplinary framework for elucidating the influence of glacial meltwaters, shelf currents, and biological production on biogeochemical cycling in high-latitude continental margins, with a focus on the silica cycle. Our findings highlight the impact of significant glacial discharge on nutrient supply to shelf and slope waters, as well as surface and benthic production in these regions, over a range of timescales from days to thousands of years. Whilst biological uptake in fjords and strong diatom activity in coastal waters maintains low dissolved silicon concentrations in surface waters, we find important but spatially heterogeneous additions of particulates into the system, which are transported rapidly away from the shore. We expect the glacially-derived particles – together with biogenic silica tests – to be cycled rapidly through shallow sediments, resulting in a strong benthic flux of dissolved silicon. Entrainment of this benthic silicon into boundary currents may supply an important source of this key nutrient into the Labrador Sea, and is also likely to recirculate back into the deep fjords inshore. This study illustrates how geochemical and oceanographic analyses can be used together to probe further into modern nutrient cycling in this region, as well as the palaeoclimatological approaches to investigating changes in glacial meltwater discharge through time, especially during periods of rapid climatic change in the Late Quaternary.

    Research areas

  • Biogeochemistry, Glaciers, Nutrients, Primary production, Silica cycling

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2019.102126 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 1 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 17/06/20

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    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND

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