In the subtropical oceans, nutrient concentrations are frequently below the detection limits of standard analytical methods. We applied a highly sensitive method to the surface water of the western and central Pacific between 42°N and 40°S and between 141°E and 158°W except in the equatorial zone, and detected overall depletion of nitrate + nitrite and an excess of SRP. However, a remarkable exception was found: an almost complete exhaustion of SRP (<10 nM) existed at a horizontal scale of >2000 km in the western subtropical North Pacific in both summer and winter. The SRP exhaustion was a consequence of an elevated dinitrogen fixation, which occurred in areas with high dust deposition from the Asian continent that likely enhanced SRP consumption. A coupling among nutrient dynamics, dinitrogen fixation and dust deposition produces the extremely low P availability spanning a large area, which appears to be unique to the western North Pacific.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)