Carbon and oxygen cycles: sensitivity to changes in environmental forcing in a coastal upwelling system

Biogeochemical cycles in the coastal ocean are changing and will continue to change in response to a changing climate. Effects on the oxygen and carbon cycles are particularly important, as either episodic or permanent shifts toward lower oxygen and/or higher inorganic carbon conditions can impact coastal ecosystems negatively. Here we study the sensitivity of these cycles to changes that may occur in the coastal ocean, focusing on a summer wind-driven upwelling region off southern Vancouver Island shelf. We use a quasi 2-D configuration of the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) to perform six sensitivity experiments. Results indicate that carbon and oxygen cycles in this region may be significantly affected by an altered upwelling season, a shallower offshore Oxygen Minimum Zone, and a carbon-enriched environment. Combinations of these scenarios suggest a potentially increasing risk for the development of coastal hypoxia and corrosive conditions in the region.

Bianucci, L., and K. L. Denman (2012), Carbon and oxygen cycles: sensitivity to changes in environmental forcing in a coastal upwelling system, J. Geophys. Res., 117, G01020, doi:10.1029/2011JG001849. Article (subscription required).


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