Fernández-Méndez, Mar; Rabe, Benjamin; Katlein, Christian; Nicolaus, Marcel; Peeken, Ilka; Boetius, Antje (2014): Photosynthetic production in the Central Arctic during POLARSTERN cruise ARK-XXVII/3 (IceArc) in 2012. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.834221, Supplement to:Fernández-Méndez, Mar; Katlein, Christian; Rabe, Benjamin; Nicolaus, Marcel; Peeken, Ilka; Bakker, Karel; Flores, Hauke; Boetius, Antje (2015): Photosynthetic production in the central Arctic Ocean during the record sea-ice minimum in 2012. Biogeosciences, 12, 3525-3549, doi:10.5194/bg-12-3525-2015
The ice-covered Central Arctic Ocean is characterized by low primary productivity due to light and nutrient limitations. It has been speculated that the recent reduction in ice cover could lead to a substantial increase in primary production, but still little is known as to the fate of the ice-associated primary production, and of nutrient supply with increasing warming. This study presents results from the Central Arctic Ocean collected during summer 2012, when sea-ice reached a minimum extent since the onset of satellite observations. Net primary productivity (NPP) was measured in water column, sea ice and melt ponds by 14CO2 uptake at different irradiances. Photosynthesis vs. irradiance (PI) curves were established in laboratory experiments and used to upscale measured NPP to the deep Eurasian Basin (north of 78°N) using the irradiance-based Central Arctic Ocean Primary Productivity model (CAOPP). In addition, new annual production was calculated from the seasonal nutrient drawdown in the mixed layer since last winter. Results show that ice algae can contribute up to 60% to primary production in the Central Arctic at the end of the season. The ice-covered water column had lower NPP rates than open water probably due to light limitation. According to the nutrient ratios in the euphotic zone, nitrate limitation was detected in the Siberian Seas (Laptev Sea area), while silicate was the main limiting nutrient at the ice margin influenced by Atlantic waters. Although sea-ice cover was substantially reduced in 2012, total annual new production in the Eurasian Basin was 17 ± 7 Tg C/yr, which is similar to previous estimates. However, when including the contribution by sub-ice algal filaments, the annual production for the deep Eurasian Basin (north of 78°N) is 16 Tg C/yr higher than estimated before. Our data suggest that sub-ice algae might be responsible for potential local increases in NPP due to higher light availability under the ice, and their ability to benefit from a wider area of nutrients as they drift with the ice.