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On the Properties of the Arctic Halocline and Deep Water Masses of the Canada Basin from Nitrate Isotope Ratios

Author(s): Granger, Julie; Sigman, Daniel M; Gagnon, Jonathan; Tremblay, Jean-Eric; Mucci, Alfonso

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Abstract: Nitrogen is a limiting nutrient for primary production in the western Arctic Ocean. Measurements of the nitrogen (15N/14N) and oxygen (18O/16O) isotope ratios of nitrate in the southeastern Beaufort Sea provide insight into biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen in the western Arctic Ocean. Nitrate O isotope ratios in the Pacific halocline evidence a highly regenerated reservoir. Coincident peaks in nutrient concentrations and reduced dissolved oxygen concentrations suggest that nitrate accrues from organic matter remineralization in bottom waters of the Chukchi shelf and that these ventilate the basin predominantly in summer, when isolated from the atmosphere. Preformed nitrate in Pacific Winter Water lacks 18O/16O elevation from nitrate assimilation, contrasting with preformed nitrate in other ocean regions. A reactive N deficit and elevated nitrate N isotope ratios in the Pacific halocline further indicate substantial N loss to coupled nitrification‐denitrification in shelf sediments upstream. In the Atlantic Water below, nitrate isotope ratios identify two distinct waters entering the Arctic at Fram Strait, from (1) the surface West Spitsbergen Current, bearing isotopic signatures akin to North Atlantic waters, and (2) deeper inflows of waters ventilated in the Nordic Seas, transporting nitrate O isotope ratios indicative of regenerated nitrate. Poorly ventilated Canada Basin Deep Water shows evidence of nominal accrual of remineralized products, and nitrate isotope ratios suggest an influence of slow benthic denitrification on the sea floor. The observations reveal that shelf processes have a disproportionate influence on tracer properties of the Pacific halocline, while those in Atlantic Water are dominated by processes in the Nordic Seas.
Publication Date: 17-Jul-2018
Citation: Granger, Julie, Daniel M. Sigman, Jonathan Gagnon, Jean‐Eric Tremblay, and Alfonso Mucci. "On the properties of the Arctic halocline and deep water masses of the Canada Basin from nitrate isotope ratios." Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 123, no. 8 (2018): 5443-5458. doi:10.1029/2018JC014110.
DOI: doi:10.1029/2018JC014110
EISSN: 2169-9291
Pages: 5443 - 5458
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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