Contribution of mycosporine-like amino acids and colored dissolved and particulate matter to sea ice optical properties and ultraviolet attenuation

Uusikivi, Jari, Anssi V. Vähätalo, Mats A. Granskog, Ruben Sommaruga

Limnol. Oceanogr., 55(2), 2010, 703-713 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2010.55.2.0703

ABSTRACT: In the Baltic Sea ice, the spectral absorption coefficients for particulate matter (PM) were about two times higher at ultraviolet wavelengths than at photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) wavelengths. PM absorption spectra included significant absorption by mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) between 320 and 345 nm. In the surface ice layer, the concentration of MAAs (1.37 µg L-1) was similar to that of chlorophyll a, resulting in a MAAs-to-chlorophyll a ratio as high as 0.65. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) intensity and the ratio of UVR to PAR had a strong relationship with MAAs concentration (R2 = 0.97, n = 3) in the ice. In the surface ice layer, PM and especially MAAs dominated the absorption (absorption coefficient at 325 nm: 0.73 m-1). In the columnar ice layers, colored dissolved organic matter was the most significant absorber in the UVR (< 380 nm) (absorption coefficient at 325 nm: 1.5 m-1). Our measurements and modeling of UVR and PAR in Baltic Sea ice show that organic matter, both particulate and dissolved, influences the optical properties of sea ice and strongly modifies the UVR exposure of biological communities in and under snow-free sea ice.

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