High-resolution physical-biogeochemical structure of a filament and an eddy of upwelled water off Northwest Africa


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Morten.Iversen [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Nutrient rich water upwells offshore of Northwest Africa and is subsequently advected westwards. There it forms eddies and filaments with a rich spatial structure of physical and biological/biogeochemical properties. Here we present a high resolution (2.5 km) section through upwelling filaments and an eddy obtained in May 2018 with a Triaxus towed vehicle equipped with various oceanographic sensors. Physical processes at the mesoscale and submesoscale such as symmetric instability, trapping of fluid in eddies, and subduction of low potential vorticity (which we use as a water mass tracer) water can explain the observed distribution of biological production and export. We found a nitrate excess (higher nitrate concentrations than would be expected from oxygen values if only influenced by production and remineralization processes) core of an anti-cyclonic mode water eddy. We also found a high nitrate concentration region of ~5 km width in the mixed layer where symmetric instability appears to have injected nutrients from below into the euphotic zone. A similar region a little further south had high chlorophyll-a concentrations suggesting that nutrients had been injected there a few days earlier. Considering that such interactions of physics and biology are ubiquitous in the world's upwelling regions, we assume that they have strong influences on the productivity of such systems and their role in CO2 uptake. The intricate interplay of different parameters at kilometer scale needs to be taken into account when interpreting single profile and/or bottle data in dynamically active regions of the ocean.



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Article
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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Eprint ID
51191
DOI 10.5194/os-2019-108

Cite as
von Appen, W. J. , Strass, V. , Bracher, A. , Xi, H. , Hörstmann, C. , Iversen, M. and Waite, A. (2019): High-resolution physical-biogeochemical structure of a filament and an eddy of upwelled water off Northwest Africa , Ocean Science . doi: 10.5194/os-2019-108


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