Warm Events Induce Loss of Resilience in Organic Carbon Production in the Northeast Pacific Ocean

Mariana B. Bif, Leo Siqueira, Dennis A. Hansell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Between 2013 and 2016, a series of warm events induced by ocean atmosphere oscillations negatively impacted productivity in the northeast Pacific Ocean. For two consecutive winters (2013–2014 and 2014–2015), suppressed wind stress and warm near-surface ocean temperature anomalies restricted vertical mixing between the surface and underlying nutrient-enriched waters. Here we assess historical data of sea surface temperature and sea level pressure, along with nearly a decade of biogeochemical float data to evaluate the impact of these warm events on organic carbon production. The first stratified winter experienced little apparent impact on the magnitude of net organic carbon production in the growing season relative to prior years, suggesting an immediate resilience from reduced new nutrients, apparently depending on recycled iron. However, the subsequent winter experienced virtually zero net production; a loss of resilience, perhaps due to net iron removal with export, was evident. We find that consistently enhanced winter stratification decreased carbon production much more so than a single warm winter. This study highlights the sensitivity of marine productivity to ocean atmosphere oscillations, reducing deep ocean carbon sequestration with prolonged ocean warming and stratification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1174-1186
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • El Niño
  • carbon cycle
  • net community production
  • organic matter
  • the Warm Blob

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Warm Events Induce Loss of Resilience in Organic Carbon Production in the Northeast Pacific Ocean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this