The Great Southern Coccolithophore Belt
|Seasonal composite image of satellite-derived calcite concentrations. (Barney Balch)|
Barney Balch, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences Ben Twining, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences Nick Bates, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences
Global images of suspended PIC taken over the seven years of the MODIS Aqua mission show a “Great Belt” of PIC near the sub-Antarctic front of the Southern Ocean that circles the globe. This feature occurs every year during austral summer and appears to be within the high-nutrient, low chlorophyll region of the Southern Ocean. The area of the Great Belt is ~88 million km2, 26% of the global ocean. We will conduct the first systematic study of the coccolithophores of the Great Belt during the austral summers of 2011 and 2012. Our role will be to demonstrate whether variability in PIC relates to shallow export flux. We will do this using 234Th as a tracer for shallow export flux.