Inter-annual variability of marine biogeochemistry at the SEATS site: application of a one-dimensional coupled physical-biogeochemical model

by Wang, Li-Wen

Abstract (Summary)
In this study, a one-dimensional model based on the Mellor and Yamada level 2.5 turbulence closure model was coupled with a biogeochemical model to investigate the inter-annual variation of biogeochemistry at the South-East Asian Time-series Study (SEATS) Site in the northern South China Sea (SCS) from 1997 to 2003. During the study period there were two El Niño Events and two La Niña Events. This study was focused on the hydrographic and biogeochemical conditions during these events. In order to better understand the model performance in the physical and biogeochemical aspects, numerical experiments were conducted to investigate the key processes. Numerical experiments by using idealized forcing conditions revealed that stronger wind stresses resulted in stronger cooling and deeper mixed layer. The model results were as sensitive to the initial density structure of the water column as to wind stress. Numerical experiments with the coupled model revealed that the biogeochemical results are insensitive to the initial biogeochemical conditions except the nitrate profile. Sensitivity tests indicated that primary production was sensitive to the remineralization rate constant for the detritus and parameters related to zooplankton, such as growth rate, grazing constant and mortality rate constant. It is less sensitive to iv aggregation constant of phytoplankton. The SEATS project of the National Center for Ocean Research provided data of sea surface chlorophyll-a (S-chl) concentrations, which were derived from SeaWiFS data for the period from Jan. 1997 to Dec. 2003 by calibrating against shipboard observations. The time-series showed decreases of mean S-chl by 35% and 9% below the climatological mean in the winter months (DJF) of the two El Niño Events. The negative S-chl anomalies corresponded to elevated sea surface temperature (SST) by 1.4oC and 0.4oC above the climatological mean, while the mean wind speed (WS) was reduced by 20% and 13%, and the surface heat exchange reverted from net loss to net gain or null. It is hypothesized that the anomalously low S-chl may have been caused by the weakened wind mixing and strengthened stratification. A 1-dimensional coupled physical-biogeochemical model was developed to test this hypothesis. The model driven by wind stress and surface heat fluxes successfully reproduced the seasonal cycles of S-chl and integrated primary productivity (IPP) as compared to shipboard observations and SeaWiFS data derived values, and predicted the negative anomalies of S-chl and IPP under the 1997-98 and 2002-03 El Niño conditions. However, the model-predicted strong positive anomalies of S-chl and IPP under the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 La Niña conditions, which brought v stronger wind and heat loss, were not substantiated by observations. Hydrographic conditions at the SEATS station indicated that, under La Niña conditions, unusual accumulation of warm and nutrient-depleted water occurred in the upper water column cancelled out the effect of stronger mixing. Therefore, the biogeochemical responses of the northern SCS to surface forcing during the recent El Niño/La Niña conditions displayed in a highly asymmetrical manner.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Liu, C.-C.; Gong, G.-C.; Sui, C.-H.; Tseng, R.-S.; Liu, K.-K.; Hung, J.-J.; Sheu, D. D.

School:National Sun Yat-Sen University

School Location:China - Taiwan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:monsoon la nina chlorophyll el nino modeling seats


Date of Publication:09/12/2007

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