Eddy-induced enhancement of primary production in a model of the north Atlantic Ocean.

Oschlies, Andreas and Garcon, Veronique (1998) Eddy-induced enhancement of primary production in a model of the north Atlantic Ocean. Nature, 394 . pp. 266-269. DOI 10.1038/28373.

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In steady state, the export of photosynthetically fixed organic matter to the deep ocean has to be balanced by an upward flux of nutrients into the euphotic zone1. Indirect geochemical estimates2 of the nutrient supply to surface waters have been substantially higher than direct biological and physical measurements3, particularly in subtropical regions. A possible explanation for the apparent discrepancy is that the sampling strategy of the direct measurements has under-represented episodic nutrient injections forced by mesoscale eddy dynamics, whereas geochemical tracer budgets integrate fluxes over longer time and space scales. Here we investigate the eddy-induced nutrient supply by combining two methods potentially capable of delivering synoptic descriptions of the ocean's state on a basin scale. Remotely sensed sea-surface height data from the simultaneous TOPEX/Poseidon and ERS-1 satellite missions are assimilated into a numerical eddy-resolving coupled ecosystem–circulation model of the North Atlantic Ocean. Our results indicate that mesoscale eddy activity accounts for about one-third of the total flux of nitrate into the euphotic zone (taken to represent new production) in the subtropics and at mid-latitudes. This contribution is not sufficient to maintain the observed primary production in parts of the subtropical gyre, where alternative routes of nitrogen supply will have to be considered.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Primary production, model, north Atlantic Ocean
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1038/28373
ISSN: 0028-0836
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:24
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2019 09:24
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/8029

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