Shutdown of turbulent convection as a new criterion for the onset of spring phytoplankton blooms
Author(s)Taylor, John R.; Ferrari, Raffaele
MetadataShow full item record
The onset of phytoplankton blooms in late winter, early spring has been traditionally associated with the shoaling of the mixed layer above a critical depth. Here we show that the onset of a bloom can also be triggered by a reduction in air–sea fluxes at the end of winter. When net cooling subsides at the end of winter, turbulent mixing becomes weak, thereby increasing the residence time of phytoplankton cells in the euphotic layer and allowing a bloom to develop. The necessary change in the air–sea flux generally precedes mixed-layer shoaling, and may provide a better indicator for the onset of the spring bloom than the mixed-layer depth alone. Our hypothesis is supported by numerical simulations and remote sensing data.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Limnology and Oceanography
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.
Taylor, John R., and Raffaele Ferrari. “Shutdown of Turbulent Convection as a New Criterion for the Onset of Spring Phytoplankton Blooms.” Limnology and Oceanography 56.6 (2011): 2293–2307.
Author's final manuscript