Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Portions of the ocean adjacent to land masses play a particularly important role in global nutrient cycling; however, strong spatial and temporal variability in these shallow regions of the ocean make it difficult to quantify nitrogen fluxes from observations alone. Here we use a computer simulation to estimate the fluxes and transformations of inorganic and organic nitrogen in Mid-Atlantic U.S. coastal waters. The coastal circulation flows southward providing roughly two thirds of the inorganic nitrogen to this region, with the remaining third entering from rivers and estuaries. Nitrogen transport across the continental slope is highly variable, directed into the system in some years and out in others. The net community production of the system, that is, the conversion of inorganic to organic nitrogen through photosynthesis minus respiration, is also highly variable. This strong interannual variability is primarily due to the highly variable fluxes of inorganic nitrogen entering this region from across the continental slope where the Gulf Stream approaches the continental slope, rather than the variability in terrestrial inputs. Overall, the strong variability of this region highlights the importance of collecting observations throughout all seasons and during multiple years in order to accurately resolve coastal nutrient budgets.
Cross-Frontal Exchange; Us Continental-Shelf; Gulf-Stream Water; Mesoscale Eddies; Chesapeake Bay; Data Assimilation; Mean Circulation; Marine Ecosystem Carbon Fluxes
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Friedrichs, Marjorie A.M.; St-Laurent, Pierre; Xiao, Yongjin; and al, et, Ocean Circulation Causes Strong Variability in the Mid-Atlantic Bight Nitrogen Budget (2019). Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 124, 113-134.