Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2018

Abstract

Substantial amounts of nitrogen fixation occur in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, due to the activity of cyanobacteria with high iron requirements. Iron is delivered to this region by dust from the Sahara Desert. However, this dust deposition is typically localized and episodic. Therefore, other sources of iron may also be important. Here, we report observations of dissolved iron concentrations in a Gulf Stream cold-core ring, which transported iron-rich water from near the continental slope into the subtropical gyre. We find that iron concentrations were elevated in the ring compared with subtropical waters, reflecting its source waters. Using iron data from these source waters and the identification of ring activity in satellite data, we estimate that cold-core rings provide a net flux of 0.3 ± 0.17 × 108 mol Fe yr−1 across the northwestern gyre edge, on the order of 15% of our median estimates of gyre-wide supply of iron by dust deposition. We suggest that iron supply from cold-core rings is an important source of iron to the northwestern gyre edge. We conclude that mesoscale ocean circulation features may play an important role in subtropical nutrient and carbon cycling.

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