Properties of Sediment Trap Catchment Areas in Fram Strait: Results From Lagrangian Modeling and Remote Sensing

Claudia Wekerle, Thomas Krumpen, Wilken-Jon von Appen, Morten H. Iversen, Ian Salter

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Vertical particle fluxes are responsible for the transport of carbon and biogenic material from the surface to the deep ocean, hence understanding these fluxes is of climatic relevance. Sediment traps deployed in Fram Strait within the framework of the Arctic long-term observatory FRAM provide a time-series of vertical particle fluxes in a region of high CO2 uptake. Until now the source area (catchment area) of trapped particles is unclear; however, lateral advection of particles is supposed to play an important role. This study presents a Lagrangian method to backtrack the origin of particles for two Fram Strait moorings equipped with sediment traps in 200 and 2,300 m depth by using the time-dependent velocity field of a high-resolution, eddy-resolving ocean-sea ice model. Our study shows that the extent of the catchment area is larger the deeper the trap and the slower the settling velocity. Chlorophyll-a concentration as well as sea ice coverage of the catchment area are highest in the summer months. The high sea ice coverage in summer compared to winter can possibly be related to a weaker across-strait sea level pressure difference, which allows more sea ice to enter the then well-stratified central Fram Strait where the moorings are located. Furthermore, a backward sea ice tracking approach shows that the origin and age of sea ice drifting through Fram Strait, partly responsible for vertical particle fluxes, varies strongly from year to year, pointing to a high
variability in the composition of particles trapped in the moorings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number407
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2018


  • Pelagic-Benthic coupling
  • Sediment trap
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Arctic
  • FRAM
  • Fram Strait
  • lagrangian modeling
  • particle trajectories
  • catchment area


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