EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Iron fertilization of the Southern Ocean: Synergy between sea ice, icebergs and ice shelves

Renaud Person1,2, Martin Vancoppenolle2, Olivier Aumont2, and Manon Malsang3
Renaud Person et al.
  • 1Sorbonne Université, CNRS, IRD, MNHN, INRAE, ENS, UMS 3455, OSU Ecce Terra, Paris, France (
  • 2Sorbonne Université, CNRS, IRD, MNHN, UMR7159 LOCEAN-IPSL, Paris, France
  • 3Département de Géosciences, Ecole Normale Supérieure/PSL Res. Univ, Paris, France

Glacial iron (Fe) sources associated with continental ice (ice shelves and icebergs) and sea ice have recently been suggested as important to Southern Ocean (SO) biogeochemistry, where Fe limits primary production. Icebergs and ice shelves act as fully external sources of Fe while sea ice, which has a great Fe storage capacity, efficiently conveys Fe from the coasts to offshore locations. Large Fe concentrations in sea ice are typically explained by a sedimentary origin, however recent observations suggest an additional contribution from continental ice to the sea ice Fe inventory. Here, to further explore this hypothesis, we analyze factorial simulations performed with an ocean sea-ice biogeochemical model (NEMO-LIM3-PISCES version 3.6) in which interactive Fe sources from continental and marine glacial sources are activated, separately and in concert. Our simulations indicate that (i) about 15% of the iron content of sea ice comes from icebergs and ice shelves, (ii) sea ice motion conveys this extra Fe to regions where it limits productivity, which results in (iii) a modest increase in primary and export production, reaching ~1% of the SO total, or ~10% of the contribution of the SO cryosphere.

How to cite: Person, R., Vancoppenolle, M., Aumont, O., and Malsang, M.: Iron fertilization of the Southern Ocean: Synergy between sea ice, icebergs and ice shelves, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8461,, 2021.


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