Biogeochemical Properties and Transports in the North East Atlantic

Clare Johnson, Neil Fraser, Stuart Cunningham, Kristin Burmeister, Sam Jones, Lewis Drysdale, Richard Abell, Peter Brown, Estelle Dumont, Alan Fox, N. Penny Holliday, Mark Inall, Sarah Reed

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The eastern subpolar North Atlantic is a source of nutrients to the Northwest European Shelf and Arctic; however, biogeochemical transports in this important region are unknown. We examine variability in nutrients and carbon at the eastern boundary of the subpolar North Atlantic between 2017 and 2020, and calculate their transport by a branch of the North Atlantic Current and the European Slope Current. By combining observations from moorings and ship-based surveys, we derive novel biogeochemical property transports at high temporal resolution. Data from 63 m provide new evidence of a strong seasonal signal with silicate declining between April and May (−2.3 μmol kg−1) and a concurrent increase in pH (0.04) and oxygen saturation (3.5%). Additionally, pH and oxygen saturation show a secondary peak in October during the autumn bloom. Biogeochemical transports are northwards and highly variable with volume transport dominating the variability over a multi-annual timescale. However, historical data suggests that nitrate and phosphate transports were 15% and 19% lower respectively in the late 2000s when the subpolar gyre circulation was weaker and lower nutrient source waters were dominant. These changes may have been amplified by concurrent reductions in volume transport. Changes in carbon and nutrient transports in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic may propagate downstream with potential effects on the Northwest European Shelf and Eurasian Arctic.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023JC020427
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2024


  • subpolar North Atlantic
  • biogeochemical transports
  • nutrients
  • carbon
  • moorings


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