Bloom Phenology, Mechanisms and Future Change in the Southern Ocean

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Authors Joan Llort
Journal/Conference Name ICES Journal of Marine Science
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Primary production (PP) in the Southern Ocean (SO) plays a crucial role on atmospheric carbon uptake. PP in this ocean is highly iron-limited and presents a marked seasonal cycle. Such a seasonal cycle has a strong productive phase in late winter, called bloom, which distribution and intensity is highly variable. My PhD focus on two specific aspects of the PP in the SO first, the mechanisms that drive such a bloom and its dynamics and, second, the elements able to control the bloom intensity at present and in the future. The first aspect (bloom phenology and mechanisms) was addressed by setting up a mechanistic approach based on a novel model configuration a complex biogeochemical model (PISCES) forced by a 1D idealised physical framework. This methodology allowed me to conciliate the different bloom formation theories and to identify the SO bloom specificities. Moreover, I proposed how to use different bloom detection criteria to properly identify bloom from observations. Such criteria were then tested in a complementary observation-based approach (with satellite and in-situ data) to characterise different bloom phenologies and its spatial distribution in the SO. The second aspect (bloom intensity and future change) was also addressed by a twofold approach. First, using the 1D model, I studied how seasonal variability of vertical mixing combine light and Fe limitation to drive PP. Secondly, I used such an analysis to interpret PP trends observed in 8 coupled model climatic projections (CMIP5 models). My PhD thesis results allow for a better understanding of the physical and biological processes controlling phytoplankton growth. My conclusions also suggest how an alteration of these processes by Climate Change may influence PP in the whole SO, a key region for future climate evolution.
Date of publication 2015
Code Programming Language Fortran

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