Distribution of nitrate, phosphate and silicate in the world oceans

Sydney Levitus, Margarita E. Conkright, Joseph L. Reid, Raymond G. Najjar, Arnold Mantyla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


This study describes the global horizontal distributions of the plant nutrients phosphate, nitrate and silicic acid, with depth, on a one-degree latitude-longitude grid. The source of the data is a subset of the National Oceanographic Data Center. Nutrients in surface waters are enriched in upwelling and high latitude regions and are generally depleted at mid-latitudes. The depletion at mid-latitudes is associated with the subtropical anticyclonic gyre systems. With increasing depth, the nutrient content increases in the water column. At depths of more than 1000m, the nutrient distributions are associated with different water masses which have their own inherent characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-273
Number of pages29
JournalProgress in Oceanography
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Geology


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