Influence of (sub)mesoscale eddies on the soft-tissue carbon pump.

A.W. Omta, S.A.L.M. Kooijman, H.A. Dijkstra

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In an idealized situation of a baroclinically unstable single eddy, we study the impact of eddy-induced mixing on the soft-tissue carbon pump. The new element here is the coupling of a three-dimensional nonhydrostatic ocean model with a physiological plankton model that is able to represent a variable plankton C:N ratio. During the development and breakup of the eddy, a complicated vertical velocity field appears. The processes of transport and plankton growth, as well as the effect of the flow on the C:N ratio, are studied in detail. The physical processes associated with eddy breakup have a strong impact on the local environment in which the plankton grows. The changes in the local environment lead to a decrease of the C:N ratio (about 30% throughout the upper 150 m of the domain) and hence a weakening of the soft-tissue carbon pump. According to a sensitivity analysis, the decrease of the C:N ratio as a consequence of the flow field appears robust; it does not depend on specific parameter values in the model. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)doi:10.1029/2007JC004189
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberC11009
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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