15 Oct 2020
 | 15 Oct 2020
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal BG but the revision was not accepted.

Warmer winters causes an increase of chlorophyll-a concentration in deeper layers: the opposite role of convection and self-shading on the example of the Black Sea

Elena A. Kubryakova and Arseny A. Kubryakov

Abstract. Winter vertical entrainment of deep waters determines not only the amount of nutrients in the upper layers, but also the light conditions in it, through the self-shading mechanism. In this paper, we use Bio-Argo data to demonstrate significant differences in the vertical distribution of chlorophyll-a concentration (Chl) in the Black Sea between a year with cold winter (2017) and a year with warm winter (2016). Stronger vertical entrainment of nutrient-rich waters from deeper isopycnal layers in cold 2017 caused an increase of Chl in winter up to 0.6–0.7 mg/m3 compared to a warm winter of 2016, when Chl was only 0.4–0.5 mg/m3. Further, during almost the whole year from February to October Chl in the upper 0–40 m layer of cold 2017 year was on 0.1–0.2 mg/m3 higher than in 2016. This rise of Chl in 2017 led to an increase in light attenuation due to the self-shading effect. In contrast, in warm 2016 with a lower amount of nutrients light attenuation decreased and the irradiance reached deeper isopycnals layers with a higher amount of nutrients. As a result, in warm 2016 the subsurface chlorophyll maximum deepens and the values of Chl in 40–60 m layers were significantly higher than in 2017. The maximum positive difference in this layer (0.5 mg/m3) was observed during a summer seasonal peak of irradiance due to the largest increase of light attenuation in the summer of 2017. As a result, the column-averaged yearly values of Chl in warm 2016 and cold 2017 were comparable. However, in the year with intense winter mixing upper layers are more productive, while in the year with low winter vertical mixing, subsurface chlorophyll maximum widens and reaches deeper layers. These results show that the observed long-term warming may lead to the continuous deepening of the subsurface chlorophyll maximum in the ocean.

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Elena A. Kubryakova and Arseny A. Kubryakov
Elena A. Kubryakova and Arseny A. Kubryakov
Elena A. Kubryakova and Arseny A. Kubryakov


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Short summary
In this article, we use Bio-Argo data to demonstrate the opposite impact of winter convection and self-shading on chlorophyll's vertical distribution in the Black Sea. During cold winter, a larger amount of nutrients is entrained in the upper layer. The chlorophyll concentration (Chl) in upper layers increases, which shades the deeper layers, where Chl decreases. The opposite is observed in warm years, when light penetrates to the nitrocline and Chl increase in deeper layers.