We analyze an optimized model of the global silicon cycle embedded in a data-assimilated steady ocean circulation. Biological uptake is modeled by conditionally restoring silicic acid in the euphotic zone to observed concentrations where the modeled concentrations exceed the observational climatology. An equivalent linear model is formulated to which Green-function-based transport diagnostics are applied. We find that the models' opal export through 133 m depth is 166 ± 24 Tmol Si/yr, with the Southern Ocean (SO) providing ∼70% of this export, ∼50% of which dissolves above 2000 m depth. The global-scale gradients of the opal dissolution rate are primarily meridional, while the global-scale gradients of phosphate remineralization are primarily vertical. The mean depth of the temperature-dependent silicic-acid regeneration reaches 2300 m in the SO, compared to 600 m for phosphate remineralization. Silicic acid is stripped out of the euphotic zone far more efficiently than phosphate, with only (34 ± 5)% of the global silicic-acid inventory being preformed, compared to (61 ± 7)% for phosphate. Subantarctic and tropical waters contribute most of the ocean's regenerated silicic acid, while Antarctic waters provide most of the preformed silicic acid. About half of the global silicic-acid inventory is trapped in transport paths connecting successive SO utilizations, with silicic acid last utilized in the SO having only a (5 ± 2)% chance of being next utilized outside the SO. This trapping depletes subantarctic mode waters of silicic acid relative to phosphate, which has a (44 ± 2)% probability of escaping successive SO utilization.