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Observations of a phytoplankton spring bloom onset triggered by a density front in NW Mediterranean

AutorOlita, Antonio; Sparnocchia, Stefania; Cusí, Simó; Fazioli, Leopoldo; Sorgente, Roberto; Tintoré, Joaquín ; Ribotti, Alberto
Fecha de publicación11-sep-2013
EditorCopernicus Publications
CitaciónOcean Science Discussions 10: 1159-1580 (2013)
ResumenPhytoplankton bloom in NW Mediterranan sea is a seasonal event that mainly occurrs in a limited area (Gulf of Lyon and Provençal basin) where this phenomenon is promoted by a cyclonic circulation, strong wind-driven mixing and subsequent spring restratification. At the southern boundary of this area a density front (North Balearic Front) separating denser waters from the lighter Modified Atlantic Waters reservoir at south is suspected to trigger weaker and earlier (late winter) blooms by (a) enhanced pumping of nutrients into the euphotic layer and (b) promoting an early restratification of the water column (by frontal instabilities). A multisensor glider round trip, equipped with CTD and fluorimeter, crossing the frontal area in February–March 2013, allowed to observe the bloom triggering after the decrease of intense wind-driven turbulent convection and mixing. Satellite imagery supports and confirms in-situ observations. It was shown that frontal activity has a relevant role in the promotion and acceleration of the dynamical restratification, with a consequent biological response in terms of primary production. Restratification is necessary preconditioning factor for bloom triggering in frontal area, net of other involved mechanism promoting the bloom as the enhanced biological pump. So, like for high-latitude fronts (Taylor and Ferrari, 2011a), also for this mid-latitude oligotrophic region front seems to promote new production by dynamically enahnced restratification inhibiting mixing. Finally, we argued that Sverdrup's Critical Depth criterion seems to apply in the northern well-mixed area, where the zeroing of heat fluxes (and related turbulent convection) does not correspond to a prompt onset of the bloom (which appeared 1 month later).
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi,org¡/10.5194/osd-10-1559-2013
Identificadoresdoi: 10.5194/osd-10-1559-2013
issn: 1812-0806
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