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Large-scale physical controls on phytoplankton growth in the Irminger Sea. Part 1: Hydrographic zones, mixing and stratification

Holliday, N.P.; Waniek, J.; Davidson, R.; Wilson, D.; Brown, L.; Sanders, R.; Pollard, R.T.; Allen, J.T.. 2006 Large-scale physical controls on phytoplankton growth in the Irminger Sea. Part 1: Hydrographic zones, mixing and stratification. Journal of Marine Systems, 59 (3-4). 201-218. 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2005.10.004

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Abstract/Summary

Hydrographic surveys in three consecutive seasons in the Irminger Sea in 2001/2002 have revealed six physical regimes (zones) in which different surface mixing and spring re-stratification processes dominate. They are the South Irminger Current, the North Irminger Current, the Central Irminger Sea, the Polar-origin East Greenland Current, the Atlantic-origin East Greenland Current and the Reykjanes Ridge. The variations in restratification processes in particular have significant implications for the timing of shallow spring mixed layer development and therefore the timing and strength of the spring bloom. The relative roles of heat and freshwater in controlling re-stratification are examined for each hydrographic zone, and it is shown that the simplest concept of solar warming generating spring stratification is appropriate for the Irminger Current and the central Irminger Sea. However in the East Greenland Current and the Reykjanes Ridge zones, the springtime arrival of fresh or saline water at the surface dominates re-stratification and generates the earliest and strongest spring blooms of the region. In the cool fresh centre of the Irminger Sea the relatively low chlorophyll-a throughout the year cannot be wholly explained by stratification or nutrient concentrations. Details of the annual cycle in temperature, salinity, chlorophyll-a and nutrients are presented for each hydrographic zone.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2005.10.004
ISSN: 0924-7963
Additional Keywords: Irminger Sea, biophysical zones, mixing, re-stratification, phytoplankton, spring bloom
Date made live: 08 Mar 2006 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/121032

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