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Authors: Patara, L.* 
Pinardi, N.* 
Corselli, C.* 
Malinverno, E.* 
Tonani, M.* 
Santoleri, R.* 
Masina, S.* 
Title: Particle fluxes in the deep Eastern Mediterranean basins: the role of ocean vertical velocities
Issue Date: 2008
Keywords: particle fluxes
ocean vertical velocities
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.01. Biogeochemical cycles 
Abstract: This paper analyzes the relationship between deep sedimentary fluxes and ocean current vertical velocities in an offshore area of the Ionian Sea, the deepest basin of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Sediment trap data are collected at 500 m and 2800 m depth in two successive moorings covering the period September 1999 – May 2001. A tight coupling is observed between the upper and deep traps and the deduced particle settling rates are larger than 200 m/day. The current vertical velocity field is computed from a high resolution Ocean General Circulation Model (OGCM) simulation and from the wind stress curl. Values are generally smaller than 1 m/day: we therefore exclude a direct effect of downward vertical velocities in determining sedimentation rates. However we find that upward vertical velocities in the subsurface layers of the water column are significantly correlated with deep particle fluxes. We thus hypothesize that upwelling would produce an increase in upper ocean nutrient levels - thus stimulating primary productivity and grazing - a few weeks before an enhanced vertical flux is found in the sediment traps. The role of ocean vertical velocities on deep particle fluxes would therefore be indirect. High particle sedimentation rates may be attained by means of rapidly sinking fecal pellets produced by gelatinous macro-zooplankton organisms. Other sedimentation mechanisms, such as dust deposition, are also taken into account in explaining large pulses of deep particle fluxes.
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