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An exploratory modeling study on bio-physical processes associated with ENSO

Park, Jong-Yeon, Kug, Jong-Seong, Park, Young-Gyu
Progress in oceanography 2014 v.124 pp. 28-41
El Nino, allometry, bioactive properties, chlorophyll, models, phytoplankton, solar radiation, surface water temperature, tracer techniques, variance, wind, zooplankton
Variability of marine phytoplankton associated with El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and potential biological feedbacks onto ENSO are investigated by performing coupled ocean/biogeochemical model experiments forced by realistic surface winds from 1951 to 2010. The ocean model used in this study is the MOM4, which is coupled to a biogeochemical model, called TOPAZ (Tracers in the Ocean with Allometric Zooplankton). In general, it is shown that MOM4-TOPAZ mimics the observed main features of phytoplankton variability associated with ENSO.By comparing the actively coupled MOM4-TOPAZ experiment with the ocean model experiments using prescribed chlorophyll concentrations, potential impacts of phytoplankton on ENSO are evaluated. We found that chlorophyll generally increases mean sea surface temperature (SST) and decreases subsurface temperature by altering the penetration of solar radiation. However, as the chlorophyll concentration increases, the equatorial Pacific SST decreases due to the enhanced upwelling of the cooler subsurface water with shoaling of mixed layer and thermocline. The presence of chlorophyll generally intensifies ENSO amplitude by changing the ocean basic state. On the other hand, interactively varying chlorophyll associated with the ENSO tends to reduce ENSO amplitude. Therefore, the two biological effects on SST are competing against each other regarding the SST variance in the equatorial Pacific.