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Creators/Authors contains: "Whitmore, Laura M."

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  1. Abstract

    Microalgae are the main source of the omega‐3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), essential for the healthy development of most marine and terrestrial fauna including humans. Inverse correlations of algal EPA and DHA proportions (% of total fatty acids) with temperature have led to suggestions of a warming‐induced decline in the global production of these biomolecules and an enhanced importance of high latitude organisms for their provision. The cold Arctic Ocean is a potential hotspot of EPA and DHA production, but consequences of global warming are unknown. Here, we combine a full‐seasonal EPA and DHA dataset from the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO), with results from 13 previous field studies and 32 cultured algal strains to examine five potential climate change effects; ice algae loss, community shifts, increase in light, nutrients, and temperature. The algal EPA and DHA proportions were lower in the ice‐covered CAO than in warmer peripheral shelf seas, which indicates that the paradigm of an inverse correlation of EPA and DHA proportions with temperature may not hold in the Arctic. We found no systematic differences in the summed EPA and DHA proportions of sea ice versus pelagic algae, and in diatoms versus non‐diatoms. Overall, the algal EPA and DHA proportions varied up to four‐fold seasonally and 10‐fold regionally, pointing to strong light and nutrient limitations in the CAO. Where these limitations ease in a warming Arctic, EPA and DHA proportions are likely to increase alongside increasing primary production, with nutritional benefits for a non‐ice‐associated food web.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  2. Abstract. Barium is widely used as a proxy for dissolved silicon and particulateorganic carbon fluxes in seawater. However, these proxy applications arelimited by insufficient knowledge of the dissolved distribution of Ba([Ba]). For example, there is significant spatial variability in thebarium–silicon relationship, and ocean chemistry may influence sedimentaryBa preservation. To help address these issues, we developed 4095 models forpredicting [Ba] using Gaussian process regression machine learning. Thesemodels were trained to predict [Ba] from standard oceanographic observationsusing GEOTRACES data from the Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific, and Southernoceans. Trained models were then validated by comparing predictions againstwithheld [Ba] data from the Indian Ocean. We find that a model trained usingdepth, temperature, and salinity, as well as dissolved dioxygen, phosphate,nitrate, and silicate, can accurately predict [Ba] in the Indian Ocean with amean absolute percentage deviation of 6.0 %. We use this model tosimulate [Ba] on a global basis using these same seven predictors in theWorld Ocean Atlas. The resulting [Ba] distribution constrains the Ba budgetof the ocean to 122(±7) × 1012 mol and revealsoceanographically consistent variability in the barium–silicon relationship. We then calculate the saturation state of seawater with respect to barite. This calculation reveals systematic spatial and vertical variations in marine barite saturation and shows that the ocean below 1000 m is at equilibrium with respect tobarite. We describe a number of possible applications for our model outputs, ranging from use in mechanistic biogeochemical models to paleoproxy calibration. Ourapproach demonstrates the utility of machine learning in accurately simulatingthe distributions of tracers in the sea and provides a framework that couldbe extended to other trace elements. Our model, the data used in training and validation, and global outputs are available in Horner and Mete (2023, 
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  3. Abstract

    Determining the proportions of Atlantic and Pacific Ocean seawater entering the Arctic Ocean is important both for understanding the mass balance of this basin as well as its contribution to formation of North Atlantic deep water. To quantify the distribution and amount of Pacific and Atlantic origin seawater in the western Arctic Ocean, we used dissolved Ga in a four‐component linear endmember mixing model. Previously, nutrients, combined in their Redfield ratios, have been used to separate Pacific‐ and Atlantic‐derived waters. These nutrient tracers are not conservative in practice, and there is a need to find quantities that are conserved. Dissolved Ga concentrations show measurable contrast between Atlantic and Pacific source waters, shelf‐influenced waters show little impact of shelf processes on the dissolved Ga distribution, and dissolved Ga in the Arctic basins is conserved along isopycnal surfaces. Thus, we explored the potential of Ga as a new parameter in Arctic source water deconvolution. The Ga‐informed deconvolution was compared to that generated with the NO3:PO4relationship. While distributions of the water masses were qualitatively similar, the Ga‐based deconvolution predicted higher amounts of Pacific water at depths between 150 and 300 m. The Ga‐based decomposition yields a smoother transition between the halocline and Atlantic layers, while nutrient‐based solutions have sharper transitions. A 1‐D advection‐diffusion model was used to constrain estimates of vertical diffusivity (Kz). The Ga‐based Kzestimates agreed better with those from salinity and temperature than the nutrient method. The Ga‐based approach implies greater vertical mixing between the Pacific and Atlantic waters.

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  4. Abstract

    Early studies revealed relationships between barium (Ba), particulate organic carbon and silicate, suggesting applications for Ba as a paleoproductivity tracer and as a tracer of modern ocean circulation.But, what controls the distribution of barium (Ba) in the oceans?Here, we investigated the Arctic Ocean Ba cycle through a one‐of‐a‐kind data set containing dissolved (dBa), particulate (pBa), and stable isotope Ba ratio (δ138Ba) data from four Arctic GEOTRACES expeditions conducted in 2015. We hypothesized that margins would be a substantial source of Ba to the Arctic Ocean water column. The dBa, pBa, and δ138Ba distributions all suggest significant modification of inflowing Pacific seawater over the shelves, and the dBa mass balance implies that ∼50% of the dBa inventory (upper 500 m of the Arctic water column) was supplied by nonconservative inputs. Calculated areal dBa fluxes are up to 10 μmol m−2 day−1on the margin, which is comparable to fluxes described in other regions. Applying this approach to dBa data from the 1994 Arctic Ocean Survey yields similar results. The Canadian Arctic Archipelago did not appear to have a similar margin source; rather, the dBa distribution in this section is consistent with mixing of Arctic Ocean‐derived waters and Baffin Bay‐derived waters. Although we lack enough information to identify the specifics of the shelf sediment Ba source, we suspect that a sedimentary remineralization and terrigenous sources (e.g., submarine groundwater discharge or fluvial particles) are contributors.

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  5. Abstract

    A major surface circulation feature of the Arctic Ocean is the Transpolar Drift (TPD), a current that transports river‐influenced shelf water from the Laptev and East Siberian Seas toward the center of the basin and Fram Strait. In 2015, the international GEOTRACES program included a high‐resolution pan‐Arctic survey of carbon, nutrients, and a suite of trace elements and isotopes (TEIs). The cruises bisected the TPD at two locations in the central basin, which were defined by maxima in meteoric water and dissolved organic carbon concentrations that spanned 600 km horizontally and ~25–50 m vertically. Dissolved TEIs such as Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Hg, Nd, and Th, which are generally particle‐reactive but can be complexed by organic matter, were observed at concentrations much higher than expected for the open ocean setting. Other trace element concentrations such as Al, V, Ga, and Pb were lower than expected due to scavenging over the productive East Siberian and Laptev shelf seas. Using a combination of radionuclide tracers and ice drift modeling, the transport rate for the core of the TPD was estimated at 0.9 ± 0.4 Sv (106 m3 s−1). This rate was used to derive the mass flux for TEIs that were enriched in the TPD, revealing the importance of lateral transport in supplying materials beneath the ice to the central Arctic Ocean and potentially to the North Atlantic Ocean via Fram Strait. Continued intensification of the Arctic hydrologic cycle and permafrost degradation will likely lead to an increase in the flux of TEIs into the Arctic Ocean.

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