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An observational assessment of the influence of mesoscale and submesoscale heterogeneity on ocean biogeochemical reactions

An observational assessment of the influence of mesoscale and submesoscale heterogeneity on ocean biogeochemical reactions
An observational assessment of the influence of mesoscale and submesoscale heterogeneity on ocean biogeochemical reactions
Numerous observations demonstrate that considerable spatial variability exists in components of the marine planktonic ecosystem at the mesoscale and submesoscale (100?km -1?km). The causes and consequences of physical processes at these scales (‘eddy advection’) influencing biogeochemistry have received much attention. Less studied, the non-linear nature of most ecological and biogeochemical interactions means that such spatial variability has consequences for regional estimates of processes including primary production and grazing, independent of the physical processes. This effect has been termed ‘eddy reactions’. Models remain our most powerful tools for extrapolating hypotheses for biogeochemistry to global scales and to permit future projections. The spatial resolution of most climate and global biogeochemical models means that processes at the mesoscale and submesoscale are poorly resolved. Modelling work has previously suggested that the neglected ‘eddy reactions’ may be almost as large as the mean field estimates in some cases. This study seeks to quantify the relative size of eddy and mean reactions observationally, using in situ and satellite data. For primary production, grazing and zooplankton mortality the eddy reactions are between 7% and 15% of the mean reactions. These should be regarded as preliminary estimates to encourage further observational estimates, and not taken as a justification for ignoring eddy reactions. Compared to modelling estimates, there are inconsistencies in the relative magnitude of eddy reactions and in correlations which are a major control on their magnitude. One possibility is that models exhibit much stronger spatial correlations than are found in reality, effectively amplifying the magnitude of eddy reactions.
mesoscale, submesoscale, biogeochemistry, eddy reaction, observations, modelling
0886-6236
1421-1438
Martin, Adrian P.
9d0d480d-9b3c-44c2-aafe-bb980ed98a6d
Lévy, Marina
25b54a61-bc39-473b-b2a6-893a377c77b6
van Gennip, Simon Jan
037dfa53-c355-40e2-a6cf-a3c21c2e861c
Pardo, Silvia
5af73138-dbfb-4864-a0e2-35a3f763f53d
Srokosz, Meric
f1701d3e-01b3-43d0-8993-9fd523032a79
Allen, John
60997f9a-fb9e-4fd9-a598-d684385f2dd7
Painter, Stuart C.
29e32f35-4ee8-4654-b305-4dbe5a312295
Pidcock, Roz
84e6bcdd-8026-4b40-a433-d08231296b7e
Martin, Adrian P.
9d0d480d-9b3c-44c2-aafe-bb980ed98a6d
Lévy, Marina
25b54a61-bc39-473b-b2a6-893a377c77b6
van Gennip, Simon Jan
037dfa53-c355-40e2-a6cf-a3c21c2e861c
Pardo, Silvia
5af73138-dbfb-4864-a0e2-35a3f763f53d
Srokosz, Meric
f1701d3e-01b3-43d0-8993-9fd523032a79
Allen, John
60997f9a-fb9e-4fd9-a598-d684385f2dd7
Painter, Stuart C.
29e32f35-4ee8-4654-b305-4dbe5a312295
Pidcock, Roz
84e6bcdd-8026-4b40-a433-d08231296b7e

Martin, Adrian P., Lévy, Marina, van Gennip, Simon Jan, Pardo, Silvia, Srokosz, Meric, Allen, John, Painter, Stuart C. and Pidcock, Roz (2015) An observational assessment of the influence of mesoscale and submesoscale heterogeneity on ocean biogeochemical reactions. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 29 (9), 1421-1438. (doi:10.1002/2015GB005129).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Numerous observations demonstrate that considerable spatial variability exists in components of the marine planktonic ecosystem at the mesoscale and submesoscale (100?km -1?km). The causes and consequences of physical processes at these scales (‘eddy advection’) influencing biogeochemistry have received much attention. Less studied, the non-linear nature of most ecological and biogeochemical interactions means that such spatial variability has consequences for regional estimates of processes including primary production and grazing, independent of the physical processes. This effect has been termed ‘eddy reactions’. Models remain our most powerful tools for extrapolating hypotheses for biogeochemistry to global scales and to permit future projections. The spatial resolution of most climate and global biogeochemical models means that processes at the mesoscale and submesoscale are poorly resolved. Modelling work has previously suggested that the neglected ‘eddy reactions’ may be almost as large as the mean field estimates in some cases. This study seeks to quantify the relative size of eddy and mean reactions observationally, using in situ and satellite data. For primary production, grazing and zooplankton mortality the eddy reactions are between 7% and 15% of the mean reactions. These should be regarded as preliminary estimates to encourage further observational estimates, and not taken as a justification for ignoring eddy reactions. Compared to modelling estimates, there are inconsistencies in the relative magnitude of eddy reactions and in correlations which are a major control on their magnitude. One possibility is that models exhibit much stronger spatial correlations than are found in reality, effectively amplifying the magnitude of eddy reactions.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: August 2015
Published date: September 2015
Keywords: mesoscale, submesoscale, biogeochemistry, eddy reaction, observations, modelling
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Biogeochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 380453
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/380453
ISSN: 0886-6236
PURE UUID: f231a6e6-5c7f-4db9-a48e-f8ded6c6d0e1

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Date deposited: 14 Aug 2015 12:52
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 08:34

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Contributors

Author: Adrian P. Martin
Author: Marina Lévy
Author: Simon Jan van Gennip
Author: Silvia Pardo
Author: Meric Srokosz
Author: John Allen
Author: Stuart C. Painter
Author: Roz Pidcock

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