By the same authors

Estimation of the atmospheric flux of nutrients and trace metals to the eastern tropical North Atlantic Ocean

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Published copy (DOI)


  • C. F. Powell
  • A. R. Baker
  • T. D. Jickells
  • H. W. Bange
  • R. J. Chance
  • C. Yodle


Publication details

JournalJournal of Atmospheric Sciences
DatePublished - 2015
Issue number10
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)4029-4045
Original languageEnglish


Atmospheric deposition contributes potentially significant amounts of the nutrients iron, nitrogen, and phosphorus (via mineral dust and anthropogenic aerosols) to the oligotrophic tropical North Atlantic Ocean. Transport pathways, deposition processes, and source strengths contributing to this atmospheric flux are all highly variable in space and time. Atmospheric sampling was conducted during 28 research cruises through the eastern tropical North Atlantic (ETNA) over a 12-yr period, and a substantial dataset of measured concentrations of nutrients and trace metals in aerosol and rainfall over the region was acquired. This database was used to quantify (on a spatial and seasonal basis) the atmospheric input of ammonium, nitrate, soluble phosphorus, and soluble and total iron, aluminum, and manganese to the ETNA. The magnitude of atmospheric input varies strongly across the region, with high rainfall rates associated with the intertropical convergence zone contributing to high wet deposition fluxes in the south, particularly for soluble species. Dry deposition fluxes of species associated with mineral dust exhibited strong seasonality, with the highest fluxes associated with wintertime low-level transport of Saharan dust. Overall (wet plus dry) atmospheric inputs of soluble and total trace metals were used to estimate their soluble fractions. These also varied with season and were generally lower in the dry north than in the wet south. The ratio of ammonium plus nitrate to soluble iron in deposition to the ETNA was lower than the N:Fe requirement for algal growth in all cases, indicating the importance of the atmosphere as a source of excess iron.

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