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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: review article 18 Jun 2019

Submitted as: review article | 18 Jun 2019

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

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

Mark J. Hopwood1, Dustin Carroll2, Thorben Dunse3,4, Andy Hodson5, Johnna M. Holding6, José L. Iriarte7, Sofia Ribeiro8, Eric P. Achterberg1, Carolina Cantoni9, Daniel F. Carlson6, Melissa Chierici5,10, Jennifer S. Clarke1, Stefano Cozzi9, Agneta Fransson11, Thomas Juul-Pedersen12, Mie S. Winding12, and Lorenz Meire12,13 Mark J. Hopwood et al.
  • 1GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • 2Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, California, USA
  • 3Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Sogndal, Norway
  • 4The University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 5The University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Svalbard
  • 6Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 7Instituto de Acuicultura and Centro Dinámica de Ecosistemas Marinos de Altas Latitudes – IDEAL, Universidad Austral de Chile, Puerto Montt, Chile
  • 8Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 9CNR-ISMAR Istituto di Scienze Marine, Trieste, Italy
  • 10Institute of Marine Research, Fram Centre, Tromsø, Norway
  • 11Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, Tromsø, Norway
  • 12Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk, Greenland
  • 13Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht University, Yerseke, The Netherlands

Abstract. 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.

Mark J. Hopwood et al.

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Mark J. Hopwood et al.

Mark J. Hopwood et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Here we compare and contrast results from 5 well studied Arctic field sites in order to understand how glaciers affect marine biogeochemistry and marine primary production. Key questions are: Where and when does glacial freshwater discharge promote or reduce marine primary production? How does spatiotemporal variability in glacial discharge affect marine primary production? And how far reaching are the effects of glacial discharge on marine biogeochemistry?
Here we compare and contrast results from 5 well studied Arctic field sites in order to...