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The biogeochemical impact of glacial meltwater from Southwest Greenland

Hendry, Katharine R and Huvenne, Veerle AI and Robinson, Laura F and Annett, Amber and Badger, Marcus and Jacobel, Allison W and Chin Ng, Hong and Opher, Jacob and Pickering, Rebecca A and Taylor, Michelle L and Bates, Stephanie L and Cooper, Adam and Cushman, Grace G and Goodwin, Claire and Hoy, Shannon and Rowland, George and Samperiz, Ana and Williams, James A and Achterberg, Eric P and Arrowsmith, Carol and Alexander Brearley, J and Henley, Sian F and Krause, Jeffrey W and Leng, Melanie J and Li, Tao and McManus, Jerry F and Meredith, Michael P and Perkins, Rupert and Malcolm S. Woodward, E (2019) 'The biogeochemical impact of glacial meltwater from Southwest Greenland.' Progress in Oceanography. ISSN 0079-6611

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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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biogeochemistry, nutrients, glaciers, primary production, silica cycling
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 09:13
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 01:00
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24871

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