A Modeling Study of the Marine Biogeochemistry, Plankton Dynamics, and Carbon Cycle on the Continental Shelf Off the West Antarctic Peninsula
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Over the past several decades, the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) has undergone physical and ecological changes at a rapid pace, with warming surface ocean and a sharp decrease in the duration of the sea ice season. The impact of these changes in the ocean chemistry and ecosystem are not fully understood and have been investigated by the Palmer-LTER since 1991. Given the data acquisition constraints imposed by weather conditions in this region, an ocean circulation, sea ice and biogeochemistry model was implemented to help fill the gaps in the dataset. The results with the present best case from the suite of sensitivity experiments indicate that the model is able to represent the seasonal and interannual variations observed in the circulation, water mass distribution and sea ice observed in the WAP, and has identified gaps in the observations that could guide improvement of the simulation of the regional biogeochemistry. Comparison of model results with data from the Palmer-LTER project suggests that the large spatial and temporal variability observed in the phytoplankton bloom in the WAP is influenced by variability in the glacial sources of dissolved iron. Seasonal progression of the phytoplankton bloom is well represented in the model, and values of vertically integrated net primary production (NPP) are largely consistent with observations. Although a bias towards lower surface dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and alkalinity was identified in the model results, interannual variability was similar to the observed in the Palmer-LTER cruise data.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution June 2019.
Suggested CitationThesis: Schultz, Cristina, "A Modeling Study of the Marine Biogeochemistry, Plankton Dynamics, and Carbon Cycle on the Continental Shelf Off the West Antarctic Peninsula", 2019-06, DOI:10.1575/1912/24019, https://hdl.handle.net/1912/24019
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