Role of Iron in the Marquesas Island Mass Effect

A remarkable chlorophyll‐a concentration (Chl, a proxy of phytoplankton biomass) plume can be noticed on remotely sensed ocean color observations at the boundary separating the equatorial mesotrophic from the subtropical oligotrophic waters in the central South Pacific Ocean. This prominent biological feature is known as the island mass effect of the Marquesas archipelago. Waters surrounding these islands present high macronutrient concentrations but an iron depletion. In this study, the origin of Chl enhancement is investigated using a modeling approach. Four simulations based on identical physical and biogeochemical forcings but with different iron sources are conducted and analyzed. Only simulations considering an iron input from the island sediments present similar patterns (despite being too weak) of vertical and horizontal Chl distributions as compared to biogeochemical‐Argo profiling float and satellite observations. In addition, simulations with no other iron input than the boundary forcings reveal the relative importance of remote processes in modulating the seasonal pattern of Chl around the archipelago through horizontal advection of nutrient‐rich waters from the equator toward the archipelago and vertical mixing uplifting deep nutrient‐rich waters toward the upper lit layer.

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Raapoto Hirohiti, Martinez Elodie, Petrenko Anne, Doglioli Andrea, Gorgues Thomas, Sauzède Raphaëlle, Maamaatuaiahutapu Keitapu, Maes Christophe, Menkes Christophe, Lefèvre Jérôme (2019). Role of Iron in the Marquesas Island Mass Effect. Journal Of Geophysical Research-oceans. 124 (11). 7781-7796.,

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