Interregional Biological Responses in the North Atlantic to Hydrometeorological Forcing
Reid, P.C. and Beaugrand, G. (2002) Interregional Biological Responses in the North Atlantic to Hydrometeorological Forcing. In: Large Marine Ecosystems of the North Atlantic: Changing states and sustainability. Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 27-48. ISBN 0 444 510117
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Using data from the CPR survey seven case studies are described that document different spatial and temporal responses in the plankton to hydroclimatic events. Long-term trends in the plankton of the eastern Atlantic and the North Sea over the last five decades are examined. Two of the examples revisit correlations that have been described between copepod abundance in the eastern Atlantic and North Sea and indices of atmospheric variability, the North Atlantic Oscillation index and the Gulf Stream North Wall index. Evidence for an increase in levels of Phytoplankton Colour (a visual index of chlorophyll) on the eastern and western sides of the Atlantic is presented. Changes in three trophic levels and in the hydrodynamics and chemistry of the North Sea circa 1988 are outlined as a regime shift. Two of the case studies emphasise the importance of variability in oceanic advection into shelf seas and the role of western and eastern margin currents at the shelf edge. The plankton appear to be integrating hydrometeorological signals and reflecting basin scale changes in circulation of surface, intermediate and deep waters in part associated with the NAO. The extent to which climatic variability may be contributing to the observed changes in the plankton is discussed with a forecast of potential future ecosystem effects in a climate change scenario.
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