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Anticyclonic eddies are more productive than cyclonic eddies in subtropical gyres because of winter mixing


Dufois, F and Hardman-Mountford, NJ and Greenwood, J and Richardson, AJ and Feng, M and Matear, R, Anticyclonic eddies are more productive than cyclonic eddies in subtropical gyres because of winter mixing, Science Advances, 2, (5) Article e1600282. ISSN 2375-2548 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1126/sciadv.1600282


Mesoscale eddies are ubiquitous features of ocean circulation that modulate the supply of nutrients to the upper sunlit ocean, influencing the rates of carbon fixation and export. The popular eddy-pumping paradigm implies that nutrient fluxes are enhanced in cyclonic eddies because of upwelling inside the eddy, leading to higher phytoplankton production. We show that this view does not hold for a substantial portion of eddies within oceanic subtropical gyres, the largest ecosystems in the ocean. Using space-based measurements and a global biogeochemical model, we demonstrate that during winter when subtropical eddies are most productive, there is increased chlorophyll in anticyclones compared with cyclones in all subtropical gyres (by 3.6 to 16.7% for the five basins). The model suggests that this is a consequence of the modulation of winter mixing by eddies. These results establish a new paradigm for anticyclonic eddies in subtropical gyres and could have important implications for the biological carbon pump and the global carbon cycle.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:anticyclonic eddies, chlorophyll, convective mixing, eddies, primary production, subtropical gyres
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)
UTAS Author:Matear, R (Dr Richard Matear)
ID Code:119899
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:94
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2017-08-07
Last Modified:2017-09-25
Downloads:155 View Download Statistics

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