On the processes sustaining biological production in the offshore propagating eddies of the northern canary upwelling system

Lovecchio, Elisa ORCID:; Gruber, Nicolas; Münnich, Matthias; Frenger, Ivy. 2022 On the processes sustaining biological production in the offshore propagating eddies of the northern canary upwelling system. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 127 (2).

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Oceanic mesoscale eddies constitute ephemeral hotspots for marine life and are pivotal for the lateral transport of nutrients and organic matter. Here, we use a high-resolution coupled physical-biogeochemical model to study the processes sustaining biological production and export in long-living cyclonic (CE) and anticyclonic (AE) eddies of the northern Canary Upwelling System (CanUS). We track the eddies for 18 months as they propagate offshore, and study their composite properties in time in a Lagrangian manner. Our model shows that long-living CEs sustain their production with the nitrogen that they initially trap in the nearshore nutrient-rich waters and keep isolated in their cores. The vertical input of nitrate from below tends to be comparatively small, and is mostly driven by mixing. In contrast, AEs tend to start with low nutrient concentrations in their core as they do not trap coastal waters, but have elevated concentrations at their periphery. In AEs, stirring is responsible for both the building up of the positive nitrate anomaly at depth and the enhanced lateral input of organic nitrogen in the near-surface. Compared to CEs, the input of nitrate into the euphotic zone by vertical mixing is substantially more important. Though regenerated production dominates in both types of eddies, new production is higher than the regional average in CE cores and at the rim of AEs, partially compensating for the intense losses due to sinking. Both cyclonic trapping and transport and anticyclonic stirring shape the regional pattern of organic matter and nutrients in the northern CanUS.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2169-9275
Date made live: 28 Mar 2022 13:33 +0 (UTC)

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