Up to 2 μM of nitrate anomaly, N∗, were found in the upper nutricline at the South East Asia Time-series Study (SEATS) site in the northern South China Sea (SCS). These concentrations were among the higher values reported in the Pacific and indicate the significant contribution of the remineralization of nitrogen-rich organic matter formed by nitrogen fixation to the nutrient dynamics of the area. The concentrations were systematically higher, by up to 2.5 μM, in the Fall through the early Spring, during the northeast monsoon, than in the Summer, suggesting that the impact of nitrogen fixation was higher during the former time period. This pattern is in phase with that of the atmospheric deposition of Asian dust to the northern SCS. The coherence is consistent with a coupling between nitrogen fixation and the availability of atmospherically derived iron.
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