EGU22-320
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-320
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Physical drivers of patterns in autumn—winter chlorophyll variability from Saildrone measurements in the Southern Ocean

Hannah Joy-Warren1,2, Isabelle Giddy2,3,4, Hanna Rosenthal2, Marcel du Plessis2, and Sebastiaan Swart2,3
Hannah Joy-Warren et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES), University of Washington, Seattle, United States of America (hjoywarren@gmail.com)
  • 2Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 3Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa
  • 4Southern Ocean Carbon-Climate Observatory (SOCCO), CSIR, Cape Town, South Africa

The first autonomous surface vehicle (Saildrone) circumnavigation of Antarctica revealed spatio-temporally variable chlorophyll with occasionally high concentrations in late autumn/early winter. Low light availability at this time of year makes high chlorophyll concentrations unexpected and the patterns of variability hint at physical processes, such as submesoscale fronts, controlling chlorophyll distributions. Here, we assess the physical drivers of spatio-temporal chlorophyll distribution measured by the Saildrone. Together with large-scale variability in surface heat and light, we identify submesoscale (0.1-10 km) frontal activity and regions of high eddy kinetic energy to characterize possible physical drivers of the observed variability in chlorophyll. Autonomous platforms measuring oceanic variables at fine spatial and temporal resolution are enabling new discoveries, such as this one, and open the door to understand the impact of submesoscale flows on the local ecosystem.

How to cite: Joy-Warren, H., Giddy, I., Rosenthal, H., du Plessis, M., and Swart, S.: Physical drivers of patterns in autumn—winter chlorophyll variability from Saildrone measurements in the Southern Ocean, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-320, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-320, 2022.

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