Abstract

Due to iron’s role in oceanic primary production, there has been great interest in quantifying the importance of Fe in regions where concentrations are very low and macronutrients, nitrate and phosphate, are available. Measurements of filterable (i.e., <0.4 μm) Fe concentrations in streams from Taylor Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, suggest that coastal-zone stream Fe input to the Southern Ocean could potentially play an important role in primary production in nearshore regions. Filterable Fe (fFe) data from streams in the McMurdo Dry Valleys were used to represent glacier meltwater that flows through ice-free landscape with the potential of transporting Fe to the Antarctic coastal zone. Estimates of potential fFe flux to the Antarctic Peninsula region using our mean fFe concentration of 10.6 µg L–1 combined with an estimate of ice-free area for the Antarctic Peninsula result in an fFe flux of 1.2 × 107 g yr–1. Although small compared to iceberg and aeolian Fe fluxes, future stream input to the Southern Ocean could increase due to glacier retreat and melting, thus increasing the fFe flux from glacier meltwater streams.

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