Blooming Antarctica

story by Helen Hill for MITgcm

The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in the global carbon cycle by acting as a major sink for CO2. In particular, coastal regions around Antarctica can be understood to play an outsize role, with high biological productivity there having the potential to act as a particularly strong sink for anthropogenic carbon. However, large-scale air-sea CO2 flux estimates for Antarctic coastal regions are confounded by limited data coverage, calling for modeling studies to help improve researchers’ understanding of the air-sea flux and biological carbon cycling that can happen there.

To that end, Cristina Schultz, while a postdoc in Scott Doney’s Computational Biogeochemical Lab at the University of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Science used an ocean circulation, sea-ice, and biogeochemistry model of the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) to study how the cycle of sea-ice affects cycles in phytoplankton and surface dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) there. A preprint of the paper to come out of her study, co-authored with Doney, Judith Hauck (Alfred Wegener Institute), Maria Kavanaugh (Oregon State University), and Oscar Schofield (Rutgers), was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences.

Full article at MITgcm