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Large Saharan dust storms: implications for chlorophyll dynamics in the Mediterranean Sea

AuthorsGallisai, R. ; Peters, Francesc
Issue Date27-Nov-2013
CitationIntegrating New Advances in Mediterranean Oceanography and Marine Biology. Meeting program: 60 (2013)
AbstractThe Mediterranean atmosphere is subject to continuous intrusions of Saharan and Middle East mineral dust particles. Generally, the transport of dust occurs in the form of pulses of different magnitude, and the annual dust deposition flux can be dominated by a few dust storms, that may account for 40-80% of the total flux. In this study, eight years (2000-2007) of daily satellite chlorophyll and modeled dust deposition (BSC-DREAM8b) data are used to describe the effects of large Saharan dust storms on the dynamics of chlorophyll. For the 8-year period we calculated 125 days of high atmospheric deposition involving a significant surface area (between 5 and 60 1º x 1º cells over the Mediterranean Sea). Many of these days were from years 2000 and 2004. They occurred especially in autumn in the Central Mediterranean, and in winter in the Eastern. The direct effects on chlorophyll variation were analyzed by examining chlorophyll dynamics in the 13 largest events occurred during this period. Two events were in spring, five in autumn and six in winter. A peak in chlorophyll was always observed between day 1 and day 6 after the mineral dust deposition event. The increase in chlorophyll ranged from 6% to 158% for the different outbreaks. Some events may be spread over different Mediterranean sub-basins. Most large deposition events occurred in the Central Mediterranean followed by the Eastern and finally the Western Mediterranean. The mean chlorophyll increase was smallest in the Eastern Mediterranean (35%), followed by the Central Mediterranean (57%) and finally the Western Mediterranean (74%). The minimum increase in chlorophyll (19%) was found for an event affecting the Eastern sub-basin and the maximum (150%) for an event affecting the Western sub-basin. Direct relationships between the increase in chlorophyll and the season or the areal extension of the dust deposition outbreak were not found. In previous studies, where the relationship between dust deposition and chlorophyll concentration was analyzed for the entire time series, we found the Central Mediterranean most responsive, especially during spring. Comparing both results, we infer that the large impact of deposition from the largest Saharan dust storms on chlorophyll dynamics indicates an alleviation of nutrient limitation by phytoplankton. These impacts are diluted in the interannual variability of such events and allow for a more important role of smaller but more frequent dust deposition events
DescriptionSymposium on Integrating New Advances in Mediterranean Oceanography and Marine Biology, 26-29 November 2013, Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
Publisher version (URL)http://www.icm.csic.es/bio/medocean/information.htm#schedule
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Comunicaciones congresos
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