ENSO-driven fluctuations in oxygen supply and vertical extent of oxygen-poor waters in the oxygen minimum zone of the Eastern Tropical South Pacific.

Jose, Yonss Saranga , Stramma, Lothar , Schmidtko, Sunke and Oschlies, Andreas (2019) ENSO-driven fluctuations in oxygen supply and vertical extent of oxygen-poor waters in the oxygen minimum zone of the Eastern Tropical South Pacific. Open Access Biogeosciences Discussions . pp. 1-20. DOI 10.5194/bg-2019-155.

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Abstract

The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) with its warm (El Niño) and cold (La Niña) phase has strong impacts on marine ecosystems off Peru. This influence extends from changes in nutrient availability to productivity and oxygen levels. While several studies have demonstrated the influence of ENSO events on biological productivity, less is known about their impact on oxygen concentrations. In situ observations along the Peruvian and Chilean coast have shown a strong water column oxygenation during the 1997/1998 strong El Niño event. These observations suggest a deepening of the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) along the continental shelf. However, due to reduced spatial coverage of the existing in situ observations, no studies have yet demonstrated the OMZ response to El Niño events in the whole Eastern Tropical South Pacific (ETSP). Furthermore, most studies have focused on El Niño events. Much less attention was given to the oxygen dynamics under La Niña influence. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the ENSO influence on OMZ dynamics. Interannual variability of the OMZ during the period 1990–2010 is derived from a regional coupled physical-biogeochemical model forced with realistic atmospheric and lateral boundary conditions. Our results show a reduction of the vertical extent and a deepening of suboxic waters (SW) during the El Niño phase. During the La Niña phase, there is a vertical expansion of SW. These fluctuations in OMZ extent are due to changes in oxygen supply into its core depth mainly from lateral margins. During the El Niño phase, the enhanced lateral oxygen supply from the subtropics is the main reason for the reduction of SW in both coastal and offshore regions. During the La Niña phase, the oxygenated subtropical waters are blocked by the poleward transport along the southern margin of the OMZ. Consequently, oxygen concentrations within the OMZ are reduced and suboxic conditions expand during La Niña. The detailed analysis of transport pathways presented here provides new insights into how ENSO variability affects the oxygen-sensitive marine biogeochemistry of the ETSP.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > SFB 754
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: No
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.5194/bg-2019-155
ISSN: 1810-6285
Projects: SFB754
Date Deposited: 03 May 2019 06:46
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 17:55
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/46565

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