Does phosphate adsorption onto Saharan dust explain the unusual N/P ratio in the Mediterranean Sea?

Céline Ridame, Thierry Moutin, Cécile Guieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A Saharan soil, considered as a proxy for Saharan aerosols, was used to perform radio-labelled phosphate adsorption experiments using 33PO43-: leached particles were exposed to poisoned western Mediterranean seawater for varying lengths of time. The measured adsorption capacity of Saharan dust for phosphate was 0.13 μmol g-1. Considering this value and an annual Saharan dust deposition of 12.5 t km-2 year-1, we show that Saharan particles do not represent a significant sink for seawater phosphate in the western Mediterranean Sea. This result is in agreement with that determined from a similar approach conducted in the eastern basin. As a consequence, the unusual N/P ratio measured in the whole Mediterranean Sea (up to 29) cannot be explained by the adsorption process of seawater phosphate onto Saharan dust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-634
Number of pages6
JournalOceanologica Acta
Volume26
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2003

Keywords

  • Adsorption
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • N/P ratio
  • Phosphate
  • Saharan dust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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