Impact of an intrusion by the Northern Current on the biogeochemistry in the eastern Gulf of Lion, NW Mediterranean

Type Article
Date 2016-03
Language English
Author(s) Ross Oliver N.1, Fraysse Marion1, 2, Pinazo Christel1, Pairaud IvaneORCID2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Aix Marseille Univ, Univ Toulon, CNRS, IRD,MIO UM 110, F-13288 Marseille, France.
2 : Inst Francais Rech Exploitat Mer, Lab Environm Ressources Prov Azur Corse, F-83507 La Seyne Sur Mer, France.
Source Estuarine Coastal And Shelf Science (0272-7714) (Academic Press Ltd- Elsevier Science Ltd), 2016-03 , Vol. 170 , P. 1-9
DOI 10.1016/j.ecss.2015.12.022
WOS© Times Cited 19
Keyword(s) Northern Current, Gulf of Lion, Intrusion, Continental shelf, Biogeochemical modelling, Regime shift
Abstract We present the results from the RHOMA2011-LEG2 campaign that took place in the eastern Gulf of Lion from 7 to 17 Oct 2011 and combine them with remote sensing observations and results from a 3D coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model to study an intrusion event of the Northern Current (NC) onto the continental shelf in the Gulf of Lion (NW Mediterranean). Our analysis shows that during the intrusion, the previously upwelled nutrient-rich water present on the shelf is replaced by warmer and mostly oligotrophic NC water within a matter of 2–3 days. This has a marked impact on the local biogeochemistry in the Gulf with pre-intrusion Chl-a concentrations in the surface layer of over 0.5 mg m−3 dropping to near the detection limit within less than 72 h. The intrusion event leads to a dramatic albeit short-lived regime shift in the limiting nutrient for primary production: prior to the intrusion most of production on the shelf is nitrogen limited while the intrusion induces a shift to phosphorous limitation. The relatively high frequency of occurrence of these intrusions in combination with their impact on the local ecosystem make them primary targets for future study.
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