Virginia Institute of Marine Science
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS
Sea ice in the Southern Ocean is a major controlling factor on phytoplankton productivity, but the relationship is modified by regional differences in atmospheric and oceanographic conditions. We used the phytoplankton biomass, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and cloud cover data from Sea-viewing Wide Field of View Sensor (SeaWiFS), ice concentrations data from Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) and Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR-E), sea-surface temperature data from advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR), and a vertically integrated model to estimate primary productivity south of 60 degrees S. We also selected six areas within the Southern Ocean and analyzed the variability of the primary productivity and trends through time. We found substantial interannual variability in productivity from 1997 to 2005 in all regions of the Southern Ocean, and this variability appeared to be driven in large part by ice dynamics. The most productive regions of Antarctic waters were the continental shelves, and no sustained blooms occurred in waters of greater depth (> 1000 m). We suggest that this is due to the slightly greater mixed layer depths found in waters off the continental shelf, and that the interactive effects of iron and irradiance result in the limitation of phytoplankton biomass over large regions of the Southern Ocean. Annual productivity of the Southern Ocean averaged 23.65 g C m(-2) a(-1), but yearly means for the years between 1998 and 2004 ranged from 22.10 to 25.49 g C m(-2) d(-1), respectively. Annual primary productivity over the entire Southern Ocean appears to have increased significantly since 1998, and much of this increase was confined to the months of January and February. Causes for this trend are presently unclear.
Smith, Walker O. Jr. and Comiso, Josefino C., "Influence of sea ice on primary production in the Southern Ocean: A satellite perspective" (2008). VIMS Articles. 270.