Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Respiratory disorder' in the ocean

Date:
November 18, 2013
Source:
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
Summary:
For more than four months, ocean scientists investigated the oxygen-poor upwelling regions in the tropical Pacific off Peru. First results show how eddies in the ocean influence the oxygen and nutrient distribution in the oxygen-poor regions.

Eddy distribution from satellite data of the sea surface height anomaly at mid-November 2012 (top) and oxygen distribution across the anticyclonic eddy (bottom).
Credit: GEOMAR

More than four months from November 2012 to March 2013 Kiel ocean scientists investigated on the German research vessel METEOR the oxygen-poor upwelling regions in the tropical Pacific off Peru. First results of the project carried out in the context of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 754 "Climate-biogeochemistry interactions in the tropical ocean" show, how eddies in the ocean influence the oxygen and nutrient distribution in the oxygen-poor regions.

Related Articles


This study based on a joint work from scientists of GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Instituto del Mar del Peru (IMARPE) in Lima is published in the international scientific journal Biogeosciences.

Observations show that in large regions of the tropical oceans, the so-called oxygen minimum zones (OMZ), the oxygen content declined during the last decades. In addition the ocean emitted increasingly climate relevant trace gases to the atmosphere. Based on numerical models it was speculated, that small-scale circulation pattern -- so-called eddies -- influence sustainably the distribution of oxygen and nutrients in the OMZ's. It is known that in the ocean, eddies with different rotation direction exist similar to high and low pressure cells in the atmosphere which can be observed as sea surface elevation anomalies from satellite data. In contrast to the atmosphere ocean eddies only have a horizontal diameter of 80 to 200 km and the rotation speed is distinctly lower with less than 30 cm/s. Due to the high heat capacity and density of seawater heat and property transport in eddies are considerably important for the nutrient distribution and hence the basis of life in the open ocean.

Guided by real-time satellite data of sea surface height anomalies three eddies could be identified in the region off Peru and intensely sampled during METEOR expedition M90 in November 2012. "Our observations show that eddies transport water with strong differences compared to the surrounding waters in temperature, salinity, oxygen and nutrients while moving westwards with a few centimetres per second," explains the lead author of this study Dr. Lothar Stramma from GEOMAR. "As the eddies dissipate after some weeks to months anomalies of these properties are introduced as disturbances into the open ocean and hence are responsible for surprisingly high productivity in the normally nutrient-poor open ocean," Stramma states. "Near the Peruvian shelf we observed in eddies enhanced chlorophyll concentrations as well as strong nutrient loss, e.g. of nitrate," co-author Prof. Hermann Bange explains. During the cruise co-author Alberto Lorenzo from the Peruvian partner institute IMARPE measured pH-values of the water and hence the acidity of the ocean. He could show that the acidity of sea water, which has a large influence on biological processes, changes in eddies. In anticyclonic eddies (turning counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere) the vertical extend of water with low pH, hence higher acidity increased.

From earlier investigations of the SFB-754 it is known, that in the equatorial southeast Pacific the 'breath of the ocean' (the supply and loss of oxygen in the oxygen-poor regions) is carried out mainly by zonal ocean currents while the results of this study show that on the poleward side of the oxygen minimum zone of the southeast Pacific eddies are responsible for a considerably contribution for changes in oxygen and nutrient distribution. "Thus, the results are of particular importance as they help to improve model computations to better predict future expansions of low oxygen areas in the ocean" Dr. Stramma sums up.

Background information:

The Collaborative Research Center (SFB 754) "Climate-Biogeochemistry Interactions in the Tropical Ocean" addresses the relatively newly recognized threat of ocean de-oxygenation, its possible impact on tropical oxygen minimum zones and implications for the global climate-biogeochemistry system. The overall goal of the SFB 754 is to improve understanding of the coupling of tropical climate variability and circulation with the ocean's oxygen and nutrient balance, to quantitatively evaluate the nature of oxygen-sensitive tipping points, as well as to assess consequences for the Ocean's future.

The SFB 754 is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) since 2008. This project involves scientists from the Christian-Albrechts University Kiel (CAU), GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Max-Planck-Institute Bremen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. Stramma, H. W. Bange, R. Czeschel, A. Lorenzo, M. Frank. On the role of mesoscale eddies for the biological productivity and biogeochemistry in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean off Peru. Biogeosciences, 2013; 10 (11): 7293 DOI: 10.5194/bg-10-7293-2013

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR). "'Respiratory disorder' in the ocean." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118111911.htm>.
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR). (2013, November 18). 'Respiratory disorder' in the ocean. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118111911.htm
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR). "'Respiratory disorder' in the ocean." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118111911.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) — Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) — A scuba diving Santa Claus explored the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dive shop owner Spencer Slate makes the dive each year to help raise money for charity. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins