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Creators/Authors contains: "Haug, Gerald H."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  2. Abstract

    Ocean circulation supplies the surface ocean with the nutrients that fuel global ocean productivity. However, the mechanisms and rates of water and nutrient transport from the deep ocean to the upper ocean are poorly known. Here, we use the nitrogen isotopic composition of nitrate to place observational constraints on nutrient transport from the Southern Ocean surface into the global pycnocline (roughly the upper 1.2 km), as opposed to directly from the deep ocean. We estimate that 62 ± 5% of the pycnocline nitrate and phosphate originate from the Southern Ocean. Mixing, as opposed to advection, accounts for most ofmore »the gross nutrient input to the pycnocline. However, in net, mixing carries nutrients away from the pycnocline. Despite the quantitative dominance of mixing in the gross nutrient transport, the nutrient richness of the pycnocline relies on the large-scale advective flow, through which nutrient-rich water is converted to nutrient-poor surface water that eventually flows to the North Atlantic.

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  3. Abstract

    Salinity-driven density stratification of the upper Arctic Ocean isolates sea-ice cover and cold, nutrient-poor surface waters from underlying warmer, nutrient-rich waters. Recently, stratification has strengthened in the western Arctic but has weakened in the eastern Arctic; it is unknown if these trends will continue. Here we present foraminifera-bound nitrogen isotopes from Arctic Ocean sediments since 35,000 years ago to reconstruct past changes in nutrient sources and the degree of nutrient consumption in surface waters, the latter reflecting stratification. During the last ice age and early deglaciation, the Arctic was dominated by Atlantic-sourced nitrate and incomplete nitrate consumption, indicating weakermore »stratification. Starting at 11,000 years ago in the western Arctic, there is a clear isotopic signal of Pacific-sourced nitrate and complete nitrate consumption associated with the flooding of the Bering Strait. These changes reveal that the strong stratification of the western Arctic relies on low-salinity inflow through the Bering Strait. In the central Arctic, nitrate consumption was complete during the early Holocene, then declined after 5,000 years ago as summer insolation decreased. This sequence suggests that precipitation and riverine freshwater fluxes control the stratification of the central Arctic Ocean. Based on these findings, ongoing warming will cause strong stratification to expand into the central Arctic, slowing the nutrient supply to surface waters and thus limiting future phytoplankton productivity.

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  4. Human alteration of the global nitrogen cycle intensified over the 1900s. Model simulations suggest that large swaths of the open ocean, including the North Atlantic and the western Pacific, have already been affected by anthropogenic nitrogen through atmospheric transport and deposition. Here we report an ∼130-year-long record of the15N/14N of skeleton-bound organic matter in a coral from the outer reef of Bermuda, which provides a test of the hypothesis that anthropogenic atmospheric nitrogen has significantly augmented the nitrogen supply to the open North Atlantic surface ocean. The Bermuda15N/14N record does not show a long-term decline in the Anthropocene of themore »amplitude predicted by model simulations or observed in a western Pacific coral15N/14N record. Rather, the decadal variations in the Bermuda15N/14N record appear to be driven by the North Atlantic Oscillation, most likely through changes in the formation rate of Subtropical Mode Water. Given that anthropogenic nitrogen emissions have been decreasing in North America since the 1990s, this study suggests that in the coming decades, the open North Atlantic will remain minimally affected by anthropogenic nitrogen deposition.

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