A model of near-sea ice phytoplankton blooms

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Conner W Lester , Till J Wagner, Dylan McNamara 


Arctic spring blooms of phytoplankton mark the annual emergence of the region’s ecosystem from winter dormancy. Satellite observations show that these blooms have increased in size and magnitude in recent years. While this may be expected to be a result of generally warmer conditions, it has been found that near-ice blooms are spatially correlated with cold and fresh surface water signatures from sea ice melt over hundreds of kilometers. This study develops an idealized model that describes how the environmental impact of meltwater may control the spread of phytoplankton spring blooms in the region. The results support the idea that melt-induced stratification of the surface ocean is a dominant driver of recent changes in near-ice bloom characteristics in the Arctic. This furthermore implies that future changes in sea ice cover under continued Arctic warming will have important consequences for the timing and spread of such blooms.




Earth Sciences, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Phytoplankton Blooms, Sea Ice Edge, Arctic Ocean, Sea Ice Edge, Arctic Ocean


Published: 2024-05-20 07:54

Last Updated: 2024-05-20 14:53


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Model code, data, and metadata will be made available in the Dryad data repository.