This paper reviews atmospheric inputs of trace elements and nutrients to the oceans in the context of the GEOTRACES programme and provides new data from two Atlantic GEOTRACES cruises. We consider the deposition of nitrogen to the oceans, which is now dominated by anthropogenic emissions, the deposition of mineral dust and related trace elements, and the deposition of other trace elements which have a mixture of anthropogenic and dust sources. We then consider the solubility (as a surrogate for bioavailability) of the various elements. We consider briefly the sources, atmospheric transport and transformations of these elements and how this results in strong spatial deposition gradients. Solubility of the trace elements also varies systematically between elements, reflecting their sources and cycling, and for some trace elements there are also systematic gradients in solubility related to dust loading. Together, these effects create strong spatial gradients in the inputs of bioavailable trace elements to the oceans, and we are only just beginning to understand how these affect ocean biogeochemistry.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Biological and climatic impacts of ocean trace element chemistry’.
One contribution of 20 to a discussion meeting issue ‘Biological and climatic impacts of ocean trace element chemistry’.
- Accepted June 30, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.