Dissolution of atmospheric iron in seawater

Sophie Bonnet, Cécile Guieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In vitro dissolution experiments were conducted in seawater in order to quantify the partitioning between dissolved and particulate phases of iron associated to Saharan dust and urban particles. The percentage of iron released was very low (0.05 to 2.2%) depending on the particulate load, the aerosol source and the contact time. This percentage decreased with the amount of particles introduced following a power law, indicating that the process could be modeled. Indeed, these dissolution processes were a function of the lability of iron in relation to the particle source, the particle size and adsorption processes. According to these experiments, the dissolved iron induced in a 10 m mixed layer by Saharan events of various magnitudes ranges from 0.07 to 1 nM. Since these concentrations are in agreement with the natural iron requirements for the phytoplankton, such inputs can profoundly influence the primary production, especially in oligotrophic conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L03303 1-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 16 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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