EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
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Dynamical and biogeochemical responses of the South Senegalese Upwelling System to synoptic wind variability: a modeling approach

Pierre Chabert, Xavier Capet, Vincent Echevin, and Alban Lazar
Pierre Chabert et al.
  • LOCEAN-IPSL, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France (

In addition to the wind seasonal cycle, Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems undergo intraseasonal fluctuations. These synoptic fluctuations are characterized by an intensification or a relaxation of upwelling favorable winds of a period of about 10 days and are believed to have a major impact on the upwelling dynamics. Here we focus on the South Senegalese Upwelling System (SSUS) which is located south of the sharp Cape Verde peninsula which acts as an abrupt coastline break and has a particularly shallow continental shelf. Previous studies described not only the SSUS climatological dynamics but also the importance of synoptic events that play a major role in the observed variability. However, their precise impacts on the 3D dynamics on the shelf remain unclear and consequences on biogeochemistry are unknown. We identify the key dynamical and biogeochemical processes of the coastal ocean in its response to synoptic events. This is done using a modeling experiment that consists in applying idealized synoptic wind intensification and relaxation to climatological SSUS states (with CROCO-PISCES). We find that synoptic fluctuations affect the regional circulation and shape robust anomalies of temperature, boundary layer depth, sea surface height,  surface and subsurface currents. Nutrients supply in the euphotic layer is significantly affected by synoptic fluctuations (+-30%). We find asymmetrical responses in nitrate, iron and silicate concentrations both between intensification and relaxation and between the inner and outer shelf regions. Persistent nitrate depletion is observed over the inner shelf. Phytoplanktonic ecosystem response to synoptic wind intensification thus differs spatially, with enhanced development of diatoms over the outer shelf and of nanophytoplankton over the inner shelf. Consequences on the zooplanktonic ecosystem are observed with a time delay and space shift, consistent with typical prey - predator relationships. Processes at play in the nutrients supply and planktonic ecosystem structure in response to synoptic fluctuations are discussed. 

How to cite: Chabert, P., Capet, X., Echevin, V., and Lazar, A.: Dynamical and biogeochemical responses of the South Senegalese Upwelling System to synoptic wind variability: a modeling approach, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3723,, 2022.

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