Particle Fluxes at the Edge of the Ross Ice Shelf: the Role of Physical Forcing

  • A. Accornero
  • A. Bergamasco
  • A. Monaco
  • S. Tucci


In this paper we present the seasonal variation of downward particle flux, as expressed by total mass flux and its main biogenic components (organic matter, biogenic silica and carbonate) in a site located at the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf. The focus of this study is on data from mooring site named F, located at 77°59’.998 S, 177°01’.623 W in the framework of the C.L.I.M.A. Project (Climatic Long-term Interaction for the Mass Balance in Antarctica) during the deployment period January 28, 1995 - January 21, 1996. Total mass flux shows a clear seasonal trend, with the austral summer months (December-March) accounting for about 93% of the total annual flux and the predominance of the biogenic (55-99% of the total) versus the lithogenic fraction through the whole considered period. In order to understand the role of physical forcing on sedimentation processes (as recorded by the moored trap) we construct a simple Montecarlo model of particle downfall that takes into account both the intrinsic sinking velocity of particles and the actual vertical displacement of the water layer in wich they are contained. On the basis of the potential density anomaly evolution, vertical displacement of the isopycnal surfaces ranging from 27.69 to 27.77 are computed and updated every day. This numerical experiment puts in evidence the great importance of the water column stability and density variability as forcing factors for sedimentation processes. Dynamical constraints are observed to play a crucial role, even in the presence of high production rates.


Sediment Trap Particle Flux Biogenic Silica Mooring Line Isopycnal Surface 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Accornero
    • 1
  • A. Bergamasco
    • 2
  • A. Monaco
    • 3
  • S. Tucci
    • 4
  1. 1.Istituto di Meteorologia e OceanografiaIstituto Universitario NavaleNapoliItaly
  2. 2.lstituto per lo Studio della Dinamica delle Grandi MasseConsiglio Nazionale delle RicercheVeneziaItaly
  3. 3.Centre de Formation et de Recherche sur l’Environnement MarinUniversité de PerpignanPerpignan cedexFrance
  4. 4.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversità di GenovaGenovaItaly

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