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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 364:289-294 (2008)  -  DOI:

Contribution to the Theme Section ‘Implications of large-scale iron fertilization of the oceans’


Export is not enough: nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration

Anand Gnanadesikan1,*, Irina Marinov2

1Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 201 Forrestal Rd., Princeton, New Jersey 08540, USA
2Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Rd., Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA

ABSTRACT: The question of whether ocean iron fertilization (OIF) can yield verifiable carbon sequestration is often cast in terms of whether fertilization results in enhanced particle export. However, model studies show that oceanic carbon storage is only weakly related to global particle export—depending instead on an increase in the carbon associated with the pool of remineralized nutrients. The magnitude of such an increase depends on circulation, stoichiometric ratios and gas exchange. We argue that this puts serious challenges before efforts to properly credit OIF that must be taken into account at the design stage.

KEY WORDS: Ocean iron fertilization · Preformed nutrients · Carbon sequestration

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Cite this article as: Gnanadesikan A, Marinov I (2008) Export is not enough: nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 364:289-294.

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