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Sensitivity of shelf sea marine ecosystems to temporal resolution of meteorological forcing

Powley, Helen R. ORCID:, Bruggeman, Jorn, Hopkins, Jo, Smyth, Tim and Blackford, Jerry 2020. Sensitivity of shelf sea marine ecosystems to temporal resolution of meteorological forcing. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 125 (7) , e2019JC015922. 10.1029/2019JC015922

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Phytoplankton phenology and the length of the growing season have implications that cascade through trophic levels and ultimately impact the global carbon flux to the seafloor. Coupled hydrodynamic-ecosystem models must accurately predict timing and duration of phytoplankton blooms in order to predict the impact of environmental change on ecosystem dynamics. Meteorological conditions, such as solar irradiance, air temperature, and wind speed are known to strongly impact the timing of phytoplankton blooms. Here, we investigate the impact of degrading the temporal resolution of meteorological forcing (wind, surface pressure, air, and dew point temperatures) from 1–24 hr using a 1-D coupled hydrodynamic-ecosystem model at two contrasting shelf-sea sites: one coastal intermediately stratified site (L4) and one offshore site with constant summer stratification (CCS). Higher temporal resolutions of meteorological forcing resulted in greater wind stress acting on the sea surface increasing water column turbulent kinetic energy. Consequently, the water column was stratified for a smaller proportion of the year, producing a delayed onset of the spring phytoplankton bloom by up to 6 days, often earlier cessation of the autumn bloom, and shortened growing season of up to 23 days. Despite opposing trends in gross primary production between sites, a weakened microbial loop occurred with higher meteorological resolution due to reduced dissolved organic carbon production by phytoplankton caused by differences in resource limitation: light at CCS and nitrate at L4. Caution should be taken when comparing model runs with differing meteorological forcing resolutions. Recalibration of hydrodynamic-ecosystem models may be required if meteorological resolution is upgraded.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)
ISSN: 2169-9291
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 February 2022
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 04:50

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