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Title: A Reassessment of the Integrated Impact of Tropical Cyclones on Surface Chlorophyll in the Western Subtropical North Atlantic

The impact of tropical cyclones on surface chlorophyll concentration is assessed in the western subtropical North Atlantic Ocean during 1998–2011. Previous studies in this area focused on individual cyclones and gave mixed results regarding the importance of tropical cyclone-induced mixing for changes in surface chlorophyll. Using a more integrated and comprehensive approach that includes quantification of cyclone-induced changes in mixed layer depth, here it is shown that accumulated cyclone energy explains 22% of the interannual variability in seasonally-averaged (June–November) chlorophyll concentration in the western subtropical North Atlantic, after removing the influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The variance explained by tropical cyclones is thus about 70% of that explained by the NAO, which has well-known impacts in this region. It is therefore likely that tropical cyclones contribute significantly to interannual variations of primary productivity in the western subtropical North Atlantic during the hurricane season.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters, 42(4):1158-1164
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
chlorophyll; tropical cyclones; cyclone-induced; phytoplankton