Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 May 2012
We performed an artificial pool experiment in the Antarctic multi-year land-fast ice to examine and simulate the effect of sea ice melting on physical and biogeochemical components of the sea ice field. The input of snow and ice meltwater resulted in warmer, low salinity water at the surface of the pool and probably stratification of the less dense water. Current speed measurements also pointed to water stratification within the pool. Rapid phytoplankton growth in the pool resulted in drastic decreases in concentrations of dissolved inorganic carbon and nutrients (NO3- and Si(OH)4) in the surface waters of the pool, particularly depleted for NO3-. There was high correlation between variations of dissolved inorganic carbon and nutrient concentrations, but the apparent uptake ratios of these components deviated from that generally applied to marine phytoplankton. The sequence of changes in the physical and biogeochemical components of the pool water suggests that the onset of rapid phytoplankton growth was closely related to the water stratification, which provided stable conditions for phytoplankton bloom even though the supply of nutrients from under-ice water would have declined.