Review Article: How does glacier discharge affect marine biogeochemistry and primary production in the Arctic?

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


  • Mark Hopwood
  • ,
  • Dustin Carroll
  • ,
  • Thorben Dunse
  • ,
  • Andy Hodson, Danmark
  • Johnna M. Holding
  • ,
  • Jose Iriarte
  • ,
  • Sofia Ribeiro, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Geol Survey Denmark & Greenland, Dept Glaciol & Climate, Geol Survey Denmark & Greenland, Geological Survey Of Denmark & Greenland, Dept Glaciol & Climate
  • ,
  • Eric Achterberg
  • ,
  • Daniel Frazier Carlson
  • Carolina Cantoni
Freshwater discharge from glaciers is increasing across the Artic in response to
anthropogenic climate change, which raises questions about the potential downstream effects in the marine environment. Whilst a combination of long-term monitoring programmes and intensive Arctic field campaigns have improved our knowledge of glacier-ocean interactions in recent years, especially with respect to fjord/ocean circulation in the marine environment, there are extensive knowledge gaps concerning how glaciers affect marine biogeochemistry and productivity. Following two cross-cutting disciplinary International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) workshops addressing ‘The importance of glaciers for the marine ecosystem’, here we review the state of the art concerning how freshwater discharge affects the marine environment with a specific focus on marine biogeochemistry and biological productivity. Using a series of Arctic case studies (Nuup Kangerlua/Godthåbsfjord, Kongsfjorden, Bowdoin Fjord, Young Sound, and Sermilik Fjord), the interconnected effects of freshwater discharge on fjord-shelf exchange, nutrient availability, the carbonate system, and the microbial foodweb are investigated. Key findings are that whether the effect of glacier discharge on marine primary production is positive, or negative is highly dependent on a combination of factors. These include glacier type (marine- or land-terminating) and the limiting resource for phytoplankton growth in a specific spatiotemporal region (light, macronutrients or micronutrients). Glacier fjords therefore often exhibit distinct discharge- productivity relationships and multiple case-studies must be considered in order to understand the net effects of glacier discharge on Arctic marine ecosystems.
TidsskriftThe Cryosphere Discussions
StatusAfsendt - 18 jun. 2019

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