Near-ubiquity of ice-edge blooms in the Arctic
- 1National Oceanography Centre; Univ. of Southampton Waterfront Campus, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK
- *now at: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Telegrafenberg A31, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
Abstract. Ice-edge blooms are significant features of Arctic primary production, yet have received relatively little attention. Here we combine satellite ocean colour and sea-ice data in a pan-Arctic study. Ice-edge blooms occur in all seasonally ice-covered areas and from spring to late summer, being observed in 77–89% of locations for which adequate data exist, and usually peaking within 20 days of ice retreat. They sometimes form long belts along the ice-edge (greater than 100 km), although smaller structures were also found. The bloom peak is on average more than 1 mg m−3, with major blooms more than 10 mg m−3, and is usually located close to the ice-edge, though not always. Some propagate behind the receding ice-edge over hundreds of kilometres and over several months, while others remain stationary. The strong connection between ice retreat and productivity suggests that the ongoing changes in Arctic sea-ice may have a significant impact on higher trophic levels and local fish stocks.