Publication details.

Paper

Year:2019
Author(s):S. Ruiz, M. Claret, A. Pascual, A. Olita, C. Troupin, A. Capet, A. Tovar-Sánchez, J. Allen, P.-M. Poulain, J. Tintoré, A. Mahadevan
Title:Effects of Oceanic Mesoscale and Submesoscale Frontal Processes on the Vertical Transport of Phytoplankton
Journal:Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans
ISSN:2169-9275
Volume:124
Issue No.:124
Pages:5999-6014
D.O.I.:10.1029/2019JC015034
Web:https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019JC015034
Abstract:Oceanic fronts are dynamically active regions of the global ocean that support upwelling and downwelling with significant implications for phytoplankton production and export. However (on time scales  urn:x-wiley:jgrc:media:jgrc23568:jgrc23568-math-0001 the inertial time scale), the vertical velocity is 103–104 times weaker than the horizontal velocity and is difficult to observe directly. Using intensive field observations in conjunction with a process study ocean model, we examine vertical motion and its effect on phytoplankton fluxes at multiple spatial horizontal scales in an oligotrophic region in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The mesoscale ageostrophic vertical velocity (∼10 m/day) inferred from our observations shapes the large‐scale phytoplankton distribution but does not explain the narrow (1–10 km wide) features of high chlorophyll content extending 40–60 m downward from the deep chlorophyll maximum. Using modeling, we show that downwelling submesoscale features concentrate 80% of the downward vertical flux of phytoplankton within just 15% of the horizontal area. These submesoscale spatial structures serve as conduits between the surface mixed layer and pycnocline and can contribute to exporting carbon from the sunlit surface layers to the ocean interior.

Related staff

  • Ananda Pascual Ascaso
  • Joaquin Tintoré Subirana
  • Simón Ruiz Valero
  • Related departments

  • Oceanography and Global Change
  • Related projects

  • PERSEUS CTA 172
  • JERICO NEXT CTA 130
  • MEDSUB CTA 138.3
  • Related research groups

  • Global Change Research
  • Marine Technologies, Operational and Coastal Oceanography