Articles | Volume 19, issue 3
Biogeosciences, 19, 715–741, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-19-715-2022

Special issue: The Weddell Sea and the ocean off Dronning Maud Land: unique...

Biogeosciences, 19, 715–741, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-19-715-2022
Research article
07 Feb 2022
Research article | 07 Feb 2022

Biogeochemical controls on ammonium accumulation in the surface layer of the Southern Ocean

Shantelle Smith et al.

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Cited articles

Aarnos, H., Ylöstalo, P., and Vähätalo, A. V.: Seasonal phototransformation of dissolved organic matter to ammonium, dissolved inorganic carbon, and labile substrates supporting bacterial biomass across the Baltic Sea, J. Geophys. Res.-Biogeo., 117, https://doi.org/10.1029/2010JG001633, 2012. 
Altabet, M. A.: Variations in nitrogen isotopic composition between sinking and suspended particles: Implications for nitrogen cycling and particle transformation in the open ocean, Deep-Sea Res., 35, 535–554, https://doi.org/10.1016/0198-0149(88)90130-6, 1988. 
Altieri, K. E., Spence, K. A. M., and Smith, S.: Air-Sea Ammonia Fluxes Calculated from High-Resolution Summertime Observations Across the Atlantic Southern Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL091963, 2021. 
Amin, S. A., Moffett, J. W., Martens-Habbena, W., Jacquot, J. E., Han, Y., Devol, A., Ingalls, A. E., Stahl, D. A., and Armbrust, E. V.: Copper requirements of the ammonia-oxidizing archaeon Nitrosopumilus maritimus SCM1 and implications for nitrification in the marine environment, Limnol. Oceanogr., 58, 2037–2045, https://doi.org/10.4319/lo.2013.58.6.2037, 2013. 
Armstrong, R. A.: An optimization-based model of iron-light-ammonium colimitation of nitrate uptake and phytoplankton growth, Limnol. Oceanogr., 44, 1436–1446, https://doi.org/10.4319/lo.1999.44.6.1436, 1999. 
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Short summary
Ammonium is a crucial yet poorly understood component of the Southern Ocean nitrogen cycle. We attribute our finding of consistently high ammonium concentrations in the winter mixed layer to limited ammonium consumption and sustained ammonium production, conditions under which the Southern Ocean becomes a source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. From similar data collected over an annual cycle, we propose a seasonal cycle for ammonium in shallow polar waters – a first for the Southern Ocean.
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