EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Surface ocean biogeochemistry regulates the impact of anthropogenic aerosol Fe deposition on iron and iron isotopes in the North Pacific

Daniela König1, Tim Conway2, Douglas Hamilton3, and Alessandro Tagliabue1
Daniela König et al.
  • 1School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  • 2College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, St Petersburg, FL, USA
  • 3Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Long-range atmospheric transport and deposition of anthropogenically-sourced aerosol iron (Fe) affects surface ocean biogeochemistry far from the emission source. However, it is challenging to establish the integrated impact of anthropogenic aerosol Fe on surface ocean dissolved Fe (dFe) cycling, due to other Fe sources and in situ cycling processes. Previous work has used a distinctively-light Fe isotopic signature (δ56Fe) associated with anthropogenic activity to track the contribution of anthropogenic Fe at the basin scale. However, this requires not only the determination of the δ56Fe endmember of all potential Fe sources, but also the assessment of how upper ocean biogeochemical cycling modulates surface ocean dFe signatures (δ56Fediss). Here we accounted for dust, fire and anthropogenic Fe deposition fields in a global ocean biogeochemical model with an integrated δ56Fecycle to quantify the impact of anthropogenic Fe on surface ocean Fe and δ56Fe, with a focus on the North Pacific. The effect of anthropogenic Fe is spatially distinct and seasonally variable in our model, depending on the biogeochemical state of the upper ocean. In the subtropical regions where Fe is not limiting, anthropogenic Fe input leads to increased dFe levels and, at times, phytoplankton Fe uptake. δ56Fediss declines due to the very light anthropogenic δ56Fe endmember, most prominently in low dFe areas of the subtropical North Pacific gyre. In Fe-limited systems, such as the subpolar gyre, anthropogenic Fe stimulates both primary production and Fe uptake with little change to summertime dFe levels. Moreover, the decrease in δ56Fediss is amplified as extra Fe dampens the impact of the fractionation effects associated with Fe uptake and complexation, whereby the overall δ56Fediss often remains positive. Overall, it is important to account for biological parameters, such as primary productivity or Fe limitation, when assessing the oceanic impact of anthropogenic Fe.

How to cite: König, D., Conway, T., Hamilton, D., and Tagliabue, A.: Surface ocean biogeochemistry regulates the impact of anthropogenic aerosol Fe deposition on iron and iron isotopes in the North Pacific, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-1494,, 2022.