Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home » Biogeochemical Drivers Of Changing Hypoxia In The California Current Ecosystem

Biogeochemical Drivers Of Changing Hypoxia In The California Current Ecosystem

Recent observations have revealed significant fluctuations in near-shore hypoxia
in the California Current Ecosystem (CCE). These fluctuations have been linked
to changes in the biogeochemical properties (e.g. oxygen and nutrient contents)
of the oceanic source waters of the California Current upwelling, and projections suggest the potential for decreased oxygen and increased nutrients in the
source water under climate change. We examine both the separate and combined influences of these projected changes through a sequence of perturbation
experiments using a regional coupled ocean dynamics/biogeochemistry (BGC)
model of the CCE. The direct effect of a projected 5% decline in source water
oxygen is to expand the hypoxic area by 12.5% in winter to 22.5% in summer. This exceeds the impact of a +0.5% nitrate enrichment of source waters,
which expands the hypoxic area by 6.5% to 12% via stimulation of nearshore
Net Primary Productivity (NPP), increased organic matter export, and subsequent enhanced remineralization and dissolved oxygen (DO) consumption at
depth. The combined effect of these perturbations consistently surpasses the
sum of the individual impacts, leading to 20% to 32% more hypoxic area. The
combined biogeochemical impact greatly exceeds the response resulting from a
10% strengthening in upwelling-favorable winds (+1% in hypoxic area) or the
decreased oxygen solubility associated with a 2?C ocean warming (+3%). These
results emphasize the importance of improved constraints on dynamic biogeochemical changes projected along the boundaries of shelf ecosystems. While such changes are often viewed as secondary impacts of climate change relative to local warming or stratification changes, they may prove dominant drivers of coastal ecosystem change.

Scroll to Top