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Primary Production in Antarctic Sea Ice

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Science  18 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5311, pp. 394-397
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5311.394

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Abstract

A numerical model shows that in Antarctic sea ice, increased flooding in regions with thick snow cover enhances primary production in the infiltration (surface) layer. Productivity in the freeboard (sea level) layer is also determined by sea ice porosity, which varies with temperature. Spatial and temporal variation in snow thickness and the proportion of first-year ice thus determine regional differences in sea ice primary production. Model results show that of the 40 teragrams of carbon produced annually in the Antarctic ice pack, 75 percent was associated with first-year ice and nearly 50 percent was produced in the Weddell Sea.

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