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On the wind-driven formation of mesoscale plankton patches in island wakes
  • Jochen Kaempf
Jochen Kaempf
Flinders University

Corresponding Author:jochen.kaempf@flinders.edu.au

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Using a three-dimensional coupled physical-biological model, this paper explores the creation of phytoplankton blooms around tropical islands in the presence of ambient currents and short-lived (~4 days) wind events. The ambient flow creates a retention zone of weak flows in the lee of the island, which is a typical feature of island wakes. Findings reveal that wind-induced upwelling effects are essential for the initial nutrient enrichment and phytoplankton growth that occur mainly in this retention zone. Oscillating flow, typical of island wakes, occasionally releases mesoscale patches of upwelled water and its phytoplankton load into the ambient ocean. The phytoplankton continues to grow within floating structures that are of up to 20 km in diameter. This mechanism complements the plankton growth associated with the formation of mesoscale eddies.
15 Mar 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
16 Mar 2023Published in ESS Open Archive