Iron in the Arctic


J. Geophys. Res. (2011)

The concentration and reactivity of organic compounds that bind iron influence the distribution and fate of this element in the Arctic Ocean, according to ship-based measurements.

Charles-Edouard Thuróczy of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and colleagues measured the concentration of dissolved and particulate iron in sea water sampled from three shelf seas and three deep basins in the Arctic Ocean. They detected high concentrations of dissolved and particulate iron in the shelf seas, and lower concentrations in central basin waters. Accompanying measurements of iron-binding compounds revealed a decline in the reactivity and concentration of these ligands in Arctic waters farther from the shelf.

The relatively low ligand reactivity and abundance in the central Arctic Ocean may render iron more susceptible to scavenging and precipitation, thereby exacerbating low iron levels in these deep waters.


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Armstrong, A. Iron in the Arctic. Nature Geosci 4, 580 (2011).

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