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Authors: Patara, L.* 
Masina, S.* 
Visbeck, M.* 
Krahmann, G.* 
Vichi, M.* 
Title: Marine biogeochemical responses to the North Atlantic Oscillation in a coupled climate model
Issue Date: 2011
Series/Report no.: /116(2011)
DOI: 10.1029/2010JC006785
Keywords: PELAGOS
Earth System Model
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.01. General::03.01.03. Global climate models 
03. Hydrosphere::03.03. Physical::03.03.03. Interannual-to-decadal ocean variability 
03. Hydrosphere::03.03. Physical::03.03.04. Upper ocean and mixed layer processes 
03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.01. Biogeochemical cycles 
03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.02. Carbon cycling 
Abstract: In this study a coupled ocean‐atmosphere model containing interactive marine biogeochemistry is used to analyze interannual, lagged, and decadal marine biogeochemical responses to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the dominant mode of North Atlantic atmospheric variability. The coupled model adequately reproduces present‐day climatologies and NAO atmospheric variability. It is shown that marine biogeochemical responses to the NAO are governed by different mechanisms according to the time scale considered. On interannual time scales, local changes in vertical mixing, caused by modifications in air‐sea heat, freshwater, and momentum fluxes, are most relevant in influencing phytoplankton growth through light and nutrient limitation mechanisms. At subpolar latitudes, deeper mixing occurring during positive NAO winters causes a slight decrease in late winter chlorophyll concentration due to light limitation and a 10%–20% increase in spring chlorophyll concentration due to higher nutrient availability. The lagged response of physical and biogeochemical properties to a high NAO winter shows some memory in the following 2 years. In particular, subsurface nutrient anomalies generated by local changes in mixing near the American coast are advected along the North Atlantic Current, where they are suggested to affect downstream chlorophyll concentration with 1 year lag. On decadal time scales, local and remote mechanisms act contemporaneously in shaping the decadal biogeochemical response to the NAO. The slow circulation adjustment, in response to NAO wind stress curl anomalies, causes a basin redistribution of heat, freshwater, and biogeochemical properties which, in turn, modifies the spatial structure of the subpolar chlorophyll bloom.
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