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Ocean nutrient pathways associated with passage of a storm

Rumyantseva, Anna; Lucas, Natasha; Rippeth, Tom; Henson, Stephanie; Martin, Adrian; Painter, Stuart C.. 2015 Ocean nutrient pathways associated with passage of a storm. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 29 (8). 1179-1189. 10.1002/2015GB005097

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Abstract/Summary

Storms that affect ocean surface layer dynamics and primary production are a frequent occurrence in the open North Atlantic Ocean. In this study we use an interdisciplinary dataset collected in the region to quantify nutrient supply by two pathways associated with a storm event: entrainment of nutrients during a period of high wind forcing and subsequent shear-spiking at the pycnocline due to interactions of storm generated inertial currents with wind. The post-storm increase in surface layer nitrate (by ~20 mmol m−2) was predominantly driven by the first pathway: nutrient intrusion during the storm. Alignment of post-storm inertial currents and surface wind stress caused shear instabilities at the ocean pycnocline, forming the second pathway for nutrient transport into the euphotic zone. During the alignment period, pulses of high turbulent nitrate flux through the pycnocline (up to 1 mmol m−2 day−1; approximately 25 times higher than the background flux) were detected. However, the impact of the post-storm supply was an order of magnitude lower than during the storm due to the short duration of the pulses. Cumulatively, the storm passage was equivalent to 2.5-5 % of the nitrate supplied by winter convection and had a significant effect compared to previously reported (sub)-mesoscale dynamics in the region. As storms occur frequently, they can form an important component in local nutrient budgets.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1002/2015GB005097
ISSN: 0886-6236
Additional Keywords: storms; nutrients; diapycnal mixing; inertial currents; North Atlantic Ocean
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 20 Jul 2015 15:21 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/508089

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