Robotic Observations of Dust Storm Enhancement of Carbon Biomass in the North Pacific
James K. B. Bishop, Russ E. Davis, and Jeffrey T. Sherman (2002)
Science 298, 817-821
Two autonomous robotic profiling floats deployed in the subarctic North Pacific on
April 10 2001 provided direct records of surface-to-1000 m carbon biomass variability
at daily and diurnal time scales. Eight months of real-time data documented
the marine biological response to natural events, including hydrographic changes,
multiple storms, and the April 2001 dust event. High-frequency observations of
upper ocean particulate organic carbon variability show a near doubling of biomass
in the mixed layer over a two week period following the passage of a cloud of
Gobi desert dust. The temporal evolution of particulate organic carbon enhancement
and an increase in chlorophyll use efficiency post dust-storm suggest a biotic response to a natural iron-fertilization by the dust.
Figure: NASA's Earth Probe TOMS Aerosol Sensor Tracks Gobi Desert Dust Across the North Pacific. LBNL's Carbon Explorers observed the ocean's biological response to the dust.