Interannual hypoxia variability in a coastal upwelling system Ocean-shelf exchange, climate and ecosystem-state implications
Monteiro, P.M.S.; Van-Der-Plas, A.K.; Melice, J. , L.; Florenchie, P.
Deep Sea Research Part I Oceanographic Research Papers 55(4): 435-450
ISSN/ISBN: 0967-0637 DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2007.12.010
In this study we use multi-year time series to examine the dynamic characteristics of coupled physical-biogeochemical processes that modulate interannual coastal hypoxia in the Benguela upwelling system in the southeast Atlantic. The results confirmed earlier findings on the role of advection to explain much of the seasonal-decadal variability. These results challenge the predominantly biogeochemical basis, namely benthic-pelagic coupling, to understand the variability of hypoxia and its ecosystem implications. Unexpectedly, the results showed that the variability was insensitive to changes in the electron-donating capacity (carbon export fluxes) but strongly dependent on the advected oxygen fluxes. The dynamics of the interaction of equatorial and polar boundary conditions (ocean-shelf exchange) and seasonally phased shelf advection were the key forcing functions that explained hypoxia variability in seasonal-decadal time scales. The vulnerability of the system to climate change lies in the long-term response of the equatorial system that governs seasonal and interannual warming at the Angola-Benguela front as well as wind stress in the Luderitz southern boundary that governs ventilation. The proposed model was able to explain most of the decadal scale variability of two different ecosystem-state indicators. The model predicts a long-term decline of present ecosystem function with climate change.