The subtropical vortex from the middle of the oceans is covering 40% of the Earth’s surface. These large systems of rotating currents have been considered responsible for the biological deserts that contain stratified water and little nutrients for life. After research, scientists have discovered one anomaly in the North Pacific Subtropical gyre ecosystem. The oceanographers have remained puzzled because the region has a chemistry that changes periodically. The levels of phosphorus and iron are affecting all the biological productivity of the area. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and we are going to talk about it.
After the information mentioned above, the researchers have noted all the variations from the area, more precisely, the changes in the amount of iron that is ultimately being deposit into the ocean with the help of the Asian dust. Ricardo Letelier, who works as a biogeochemist and ecologist at the Oregon State University together with David Karl from the University of Hawaii, are the ones that are leading this study.
They are saying that these areas were taught to be barren and stable, but they are quite dynamic. Also, these areas are the ones that are covering a lot of Earth’s surface, and they have to find out more about how they work. Both Letelier and Karl have focused on the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, and the study was sustained by three decades of observation data.
Looking at the surface layer of the North Pacific gyre, the water is clear and with few nutrients. Because the water is clear, the sunlight is penetrating deep into it, and the photosynthetic process can happen even at 100 meters below. Typically, the water from above is fertilized by the nutrient from the deep sea. In this case, that is not possible because these waters are stratified and the mixing that takes place is little.
Drawing to a close, the two essential components for life in the North Pacific, the iron and the phosphorous have changed during these three decades of study. The scientists have put the finger on the problem, and the Asian dust is the cause of these changes. The Asian dust is bringing iron from the combination of the desertification of the continent. These strong winds are carrying large amounts of iron that allows organisms to utilize the phosphorus in the levels from above the ocean. Because of that, there are periods without phosphorus at all, and the changes in the ecosystem are significant.
Steff Haines is a reporter for Swerd Media. After graduating from American River College, Steff got an internship at NPR and worked as a beat reporter for the Los Angeles Kings. Steff was also was a columnist for the Huff Post. Steff mostly covers entertainment and community events in the Sacramento area.