Rain triggers seasonal stratification in a temperate shelf sea

Jardine, J. E.; Palmer, M.; Mahaffey, C.; Holt, J. ORCID:; Wakelin, S. L. ORCID:; Düsterhus, A.; Sharples, J.; Wihsgott, J.. 2023 Rain triggers seasonal stratification in a temperate shelf sea. Nature Communications, 14 (1).

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
s41467-023-38599-y.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (3MB) | Preview


The North Atlantic Storm Track acts as a conveyor belt for extratropical cyclones that frequently deliver high winds and rainfall to northwest European shelf seas. Storms are primarily considered detrimental to shelf sea stratification due to wind-driven mixing countering thermal buoyancy, but their impact on shelf scale stratification cycles remains poorly understood. Here, we show that storms trigger stratification through enhanced surface buoyancy from rainfall. A multidecadal model confirms that rainfall contributed to triggering seasonal stratification 88% of the time from 1982 to 2015. Stratification could be further modulated by large-scale climate oscillations, such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (AMV), with stratification onset dates being twice as variable during a positive AMV phase than a negative one. Further insights into how changing storm activity will impact shelf seas are discussed beyond the current view of increasing wind-driven mixing, with significant implications for marine productivity and ecosystem function.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2041-1723
Date made live: 07 Jun 2023 11:35 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...