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Modeling brine and nutrient dynamics in Antarctic sea ice: The case of dissolved silica
Vancoppenolle, M.; Goosse, H.; de Montety, A.; Fichefet, T.; Tremblay, B.; Tison, J.L. (2010). Modeling brine and nutrient dynamics in Antarctic sea ice: The case of dissolved silica. J. Geophys. Res. 115(C02005): 18.
In: Journal of Geophysical Research. American Geophysical Union: Richmond. ISSN 0148-0227; e-ISSN 2156-2202, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Vancoppenolle, M.
  • Goosse, H.
  • de Montety, A.
  • Fichefet, T.
  • Tremblay, B.
  • Tison, J.L.

    Sea ice ecosystems are characterized by microalgae living in brine inclusions. The growth rate of ice algae depends on light and nutrient supply. Here, the interactions between nutrients and brine dynamics under the influence of algae are investigated using a one-dimensional model. The model includes snow and ice thermodynamics with brine physics and an idealized sea ice biological component, characterized by one nutrient, namely, dissolved silica (DSi). In the model, DSi follows brine motion and is consumed by ice algae. Depending on physical ice characteristics, the brine flow is either advective, diffusive, or turbulent. The vertical profiles of ice salinity and DSi concentration are solutions of advection-diffusion equations. The model is configured to simulate the typical thermodynamic regimes of first-year Antarctic pack ice. The simulated vertical profiles of salinity and DSi qualitatively reproduce observations. Analysis of results highlights the role of convection in the lowermost 5-10 cm of ice. Convection mixes saline, nutrient-poor brine with comparatively fresh, nutrient-rich seawater. This implies a rejection of salt to the ocean and a flux of DSi to the ice. In the presence of growing algae, the simulated ocean-to-ice DSi flux increases by 0-115% compared to an abiotic situation. In turn, primary production and brine convection act in synergy to form a nutrient pump. The other important processes are the flooding of the surface by seawater and the percolation of meltwater. The former refills nutrients near the ice surface in spring. The latter, if present, tends to expell nutrients from the ice in summer.

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