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 journalArticle

Abstract

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
Volume33
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Organic carbon
organic carbon
winter
ocean
Nutrients
Carbon
Productivity
Wind stress
stratification
oscillation
Sea level
iron
productivity
atmosphere
nutrient
sea level pressure
vertical mixing
wind stress
Iron
temperature anomaly

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Warm Events Induce Loss of Resilience in Organic Carbon Production in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. / Bif, Mariana B.; Siqueira, Leo; Hansell, Dennis A.

In: Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Vol. 33, No. 9, 01.09.2019, p. 1174-1186.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Siqueira, Leo

AU - Hansell, Dennis A.

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AB - 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.

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