Linking Southern Ocean Mixed-Layer Dynamics to Net Community Production on Various Timescales

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Mixed-layer dynamics exert a first order control on nutrient and light availability for phytoplankton. In this study, we examine the influence of mixed-layer dynamics on net community production (NCP) in the Southern Ocean on intra-seasonal, seasonal, interannual, and decadal timescales, using biogeochemical Argo floats and satellite-derived NCP estimates during the period from 1997 to 2020. On intraseasonal timescales, the shoaling of the mixed layer is more likely to enhance NCP in austral spring and winter, suggesting an alleviation of light limitation. As expected, NCP generally increases with light availability on seasonal timescales. On interannual timescales, NCP is correlated with mixed layer depth (MLD) and mixed-layer-averaged photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) in austral spring and winter, especially in regions with deeper mixed layers. Though recent studies have argued that winter MLD controls the subsequent growing season's iron and light availability, the limited number of Argo float observations contemporaneous with our satellite observations do not show a significant correlation between NCP and the previous-winter's MLD on interannual timescales. Over the 1997–2020 period, we observe regional trends in NCP (e.g., increasing around S. America), but no trend for the entire Southern Ocean. Overall, our results show that the dependence of NCP on MLD is a complex function of timescales.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Li, Z; Lozier, MS; Cassar, N

Published Date

  • October 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 126 / 10

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2169-9291

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2169-9275

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1029/2021JC017537

Citation Source

  • Scopus