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Influence of large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns on nutrient dynamics in the Mediterranean Sea in the extended winter season (October-March) 1961-1999

Abstract : We investigated the effects of variations in the 4 primary mid-latitude large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns on nutrients potentially limiting phytoplankton growth in the Mediterranean Sea (nitrate and phosphate), with a focus on the key deep convective areas of the basin (Gulf of Lions, Southern Adriatic Sea, Southern Aegean Sea and Rhodes Gyre). Monthly indices of these 4 modes of variability, together with a high-resolution hindcast of the Mediterranean Sea physics and biogeochemistry covering the period 1961-1999, were used to determine the physical mechanisms explaining the influence of these patterns on nutrient distribution and variability. We found a decrease in the concentration of phosphate and nitrate for each unit of increase in the index values of the East Atlantic and East Atlantic/Western Russian variability modes in the area of the Gulf of Lions, while a signal of the opposite sign was associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation in the Aegean Sea and Rhodes Gyre. In both cases, the variability observed was related to a significant variation in the mixed layer depth driven by heat losses and wind stress over the areas. The East Atlantic pattern played a major role in driving the long-term dynamics of both phosphate and nitrate availability in the Gulf of Lions, with a particularly pronounced effect in December and January. For both the Aegean Sea and Rhodes Gyre, the most prominent correlations were found between the North Atlantic Oscillation and phosphate, with a highly consistent behavior in the 2 areas associated with common physical forcing and exchange of properties among them.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03451461
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M Reale, S Salon, S Somot, C Solidoro, F Giorgi, et al.. Influence of large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns on nutrient dynamics in the Mediterranean Sea in the extended winter season (October-March) 1961-1999. Climate Research, Inter Research, 2020, 82, pp.117-136. ⟨10.3354/cr01620⟩. ⟨insu-03451461⟩

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