Changes in iron speciation following a Sarahan dust event in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • MJA Rijkenberg
  • CF Powell
  • MC Nielsdottir
  • MD Patey
  • PG Hill
  • AR Baker
  • TD Jickells
  • EP Achterberg


Concentrations of dissolved iron (DFe) and Fe-binding ligands were determined in the tropical Northeast Atlantic Ocean (12-30 degrees N, 21-29 degrees W) as part of the UK-SOLAS (Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study) cruise Poseidon 332 (P332) in January-February 2006. The surface water DFe concentrations varied between 0.1 and 0.4 nM with an average of 0.22 +/- 0.05 nM (n = 159). The surface water concentrations of total Fe-binding ligands varied between 0.82 and 1.46 nM with an average of 1.11 +/- 0.14 nM (n = 33). The concentration of uncomplexed Fe-binding ligands varied between 0.64 and 1.35 nM with an average of 0.90 +/- 0.14 nM (n = 33). Thus, on average 81% of the total Fe-binding ligand concentration was uncomplexed. The average logarithmic conditional stability constant of the pool of Fe-binding ligands was 22.85 +/- 0.38 with respect to Fe3+ (n=33). A transect (12 degrees N, 26 degrees W to 16 degrees N, 25.3 degrees W) was sailed during a small Saharan dust event and repeated a week later. Following the dust event, the concentration of DFe increased from 0.20 +/- 0.026 nM (n = 125) to 0.25 +/- 0.028 (n = 17) and the concentration of free Fe-binding ligands decreased from 1.15 +/- 0.15 (n=4) to 0.89 +/- 0.10 (n=4) nM. Furthermore, the logarithmic stability constants of the Fe-binding ligands south of the Cape Verde islands were distinctively lower than north of the islands. The absence of a change in the logarithmic stability constant after the dust event south of the Cape Verde islands suggests that there was no significant atmospheric input of new Fe-binding ligands during this dust event. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-67
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2008


  • dissolved iron, atmospheric input, dry deposition, Saharan dust, equatorial Atlantic Ocean, organic iron complexation, aerosols