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The Southern Ocean silica cycle

Abstract : The Southern Ocean is a major opal sink and plays a key role in the silica cycle of the world ocean. So far however, a complete cycle of silicon in the Southern Ocean has not been published. On one hand, Southern Ocean surface waters receive considerable amounts of silicic acid (dissolved silica, DSi) from the rest of the world ocean through the upwelling of the Circumpolar Deep Water, fed by contributions of deep waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. On the other hand, the Southern Ocean exports a considerable flux of the silicic acid that is not used by diatoms in surface waters through the northward pathways of the Sub-Antarctic Mode Water, of the Antarctic Intermediate Water, and of the Antarctic Bottom Water. Thus the Southern Ocean is a source of DSi for the rest of the world ocean. Here we show that the Southern Ocean is a net importer of DSi: because there is no significant external input of DSi, the flux of DSi imported through the Circumpolar Deep Water pathway compensates the sink flux of biogenic silica in sediments.
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Paul Tréguer. The Southern Ocean silica cycle. Comptes Rendus Géoscience, 2014, 346 (11-12), pp.279-286. ⟨10.1016/j.crte.2014.07.003⟩. ⟨hal-01108942⟩



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