Oceanic fronts are dynamically active regions of the global ocean that support upwelling and downwelling with significant implications for phytoplankton production and export. However (on time scales greater than or similar to the inertial time scale), the vertical velocity is 10(3)-10(4) times weaker than the horizontal velocity and is difficult to observe directly. Using intensive field observations in conjunction with a process study ocean model, we examine vertical motion and its effect on phytoplankton fluxes at multiple spatial horizontal scales in an oligotrophic region in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The mesoscale ageostrophic vertical velocity (similar to 10 m/day) inferred from our observations shapes the large-scale phytoplankton distribution but does not explain the narrow (1-10 km wide) features of high chlorophyll content extending 40-60 m downward from the deep chlorophyll maximum. Using modeling, we show that downwelling submesoscale features concentrate 80% of the downward vertical flux of phytoplankton within just 15% of the horizontal area. These submesoscale spatial structures serve as conduits between the surface mixed layer and pycnocline and can contribute to exporting carbon from the sunlit surface layers to the ocean interior.

Effects of Oceanic Mesoscale and Submesoscale Frontal Processes on the Vertical Transport of Phytoplankton

Capet A.;
2019-01-01

Abstract

Oceanic fronts are dynamically active regions of the global ocean that support upwelling and downwelling with significant implications for phytoplankton production and export. However (on time scales greater than or similar to the inertial time scale), the vertical velocity is 10(3)-10(4) times weaker than the horizontal velocity and is difficult to observe directly. Using intensive field observations in conjunction with a process study ocean model, we examine vertical motion and its effect on phytoplankton fluxes at multiple spatial horizontal scales in an oligotrophic region in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The mesoscale ageostrophic vertical velocity (similar to 10 m/day) inferred from our observations shapes the large-scale phytoplankton distribution but does not explain the narrow (1-10 km wide) features of high chlorophyll content extending 40-60 m downward from the deep chlorophyll maximum. Using modeling, we show that downwelling submesoscale features concentrate 80% of the downward vertical flux of phytoplankton within just 15% of the horizontal area. These submesoscale spatial structures serve as conduits between the surface mixed layer and pycnocline and can contribute to exporting carbon from the sunlit surface layers to the ocean interior.
2019
vertical motion
ocean front
mesoscale
submesoscale
transport
phytoplankton
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Effects of Oceanic Mesoscale and Submesoscale Frontal Processes on the Vertical Transport of.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione Editoriale (PDF)
Licenza: Copyright dell'editore
Dimensione 6.36 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
6.36 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/26667
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 42
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 37
social impact