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Journal Article

Control mechanisms for the oceanic distribution of silicon isotopes


Maier-Reimer,  Ernst
Ocean Biogeochemistry, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Wischmeyer, A. G., De La Rocha, C. L., Maier-Reimer, E., & Wolf-Gladrow, D. A. (2003). Control mechanisms for the oceanic distribution of silicon isotopes. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 17: 1083. doi:10.1029/2002GB002022.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-0169-4
Marine diatoms take up silicic acid for the buildup of their opaline shells and discriminate against the heavier silicon isotope. For the first time, the overall oceanic distribution of silicon isotopes has been estimated by integration of the Hamburg Model of the Ocean Carbon Cycle, version 4 (HAMOCC4). It is shown that the relationship between the silicic acid concentration and its silicon isotope composition is not a simple Rayleigh distillation curve. Only the Southern Ocean and the equatorial Pacific show a clear functional dependency similar to the Rayleigh distillation curve. Model results can be used to predict opal silicon isotope compositions in the sediment and constrain the use of silicon isotopes as a proxy for silicic acid utilization. Owing to the structure of the Pacific current system, it might be valid to apply a relationship between surface silicic acid concentrations and the silicon isotope signal in the equatorial Pacific sediments.