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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Short summary
Seasonal variations of processes such as upwelling and biological production that happen along the north-western African coast can modulate the temporal variability of the biological activity of the adjacent open North Atlantic hundreds of kilometers away from the coast thanks to the lateral transport of the coastal organic carbon. This happens with a temporal delay, which is smaller than a season up to roughly 500 km from the coast due to the intense transport by small scale filaments.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-470
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-470

  18 Dec 2020

18 Dec 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Drivers and impact of the seasonal variability of the organic carbon offshore transport in the Canary Upwelling System

Giulia Bonino1,, Elisa Lovecchio2,, Nicolas Gruber3, Matthias Münnich3, Simona Masina1, and Doroteaciro Iovino1 Giulia Bonino et al.
  • 1Ocean Modeling and Data Assimilation Division, Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Bologna, Italy
  • 2Ocean BioGeosciences, National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Southampton, U.K.
  • 3Environmental Physics, Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. The Canary Upwelling System (CanUS) is a productive coastal region characterized by strong seasonality and an intense offshore transport of organic carbon (Corg) to the adjacent oligotrophic offshore waters. There, the respiration of this Corg substantially modifies net community production (NCP). While this transport and the resulting coupling of the biogeochemistry between the coastal and open ocean has been well studied in the annual mean, the temporal variability, and especially its seasonality has not yet been investigated. Here, we fill this gap, and determine the seasonal variability of the offshore transport of Corg, its mesoscale component, latitudinal differences, and the underlying physical and biological drivers. To this end, we employ the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) coupled to a nutrient, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and detritus (NPZD) ecosystem model. Our results reveal the importance of the mesoscale fluxes and of the upwelling processes (coastal upwelling and Ekman pumping) in modulating the seasonal variation of the offshore Corg transport. We find that the region surrounding Cape Blanc (21° N) hosts the most intense Corg offshore flux in every season, linked to the persistent, and far reaching Cape Blanc filament. Coastal upwelling filaments dominate the seasonality of the total offshore flux up to 100 km from the coast, contributing in every season season at least 80 % to the total flux. The seasonality of the upwelling modulates the offshore Corg seasonality hundreds of km from the CanUS coast via lateral redistribution of nearshore production. North of 24.5° N, the sharp summer-fall peak of coastal upwelling results in an export of more than 30 % of the coastal Corg at the 100 km offshore due to a combination of intensified nearshore production and offshore fluxes. To the south, the less pronounced upwelling seasonality regulates an overall larger, but farther-reaching and less seasonally varying lateral flux, which exports between 60 and 90 % of the coastal production more than 100 km offshore. Overall, we show that the temporal variability of nearshore processes impacts the variability of Corg and NCP hundreds of km offshore from the CanUS coast via the offshore transport of the nearshore production.

Giulia Bonino et al.

 
Status: open (until 01 Feb 2021)
Status: open (until 01 Feb 2021)
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Giulia Bonino et al.

Giulia Bonino et al.

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Short summary
Seasonal variations of processes such as upwelling and biological production that happen along the north-western African coast can modulate the temporal variability of the biological activity of the adjacent open North Atlantic hundreds of kilometers away from the coast thanks to the lateral transport of the coastal organic carbon. This happens with a temporal delay, which is smaller than a season up to roughly 500 km from the coast due to the intense transport by small scale filaments.
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