A case study of a phytoplankton bloom triggered by a tropical cyclone and cyclonic eddies

Haibin Lü, Xingyu Zhao, Jialong Sun, Guozhen Zha, Jingyuan Xi, Shuqun Cai, Yiguo Hong
2020 PLoS ONE  
Strong tropical cyclone (TC) Ockhi occurred in the southeastern Arabian Sea (AS) in 2017. Ockhi greatly changed the oceanic conditions and induced large variation in chlorophyll-a (Chl-a). The dynamic mechanisms of the long-term phytoplankton bloom after the passage of the TC were investigated in this study. Prominent surface ocean responses, e.g., decreasing temperature and salinity, were identified from Argo data by comparing the pre- and post-conditions of the TC. A phytoplankton bloom was
more » ... served in southeastern AS after the passage of TC Ockhi within the area of (11°N-14°N, 67°E-70°E) and lasted for seven days. Interestingly, there were two weaker cyclonic eddies, with an average vorticity of less than 0.14 s-1, on the TC trajectory from November 28 to December 2. As Ockhi approached, strong vertical mixing occurred on December 3, increasing the eddy vorticity to 0.26 s-1. After the passage of Ockhi, both eddies, with a two-day oscillation period, were substantially enhanced. Especially from December 11 to 16, the vorticity above 70 m was as high as 0.2 s-1 in the thermocline. Because of the high photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) and low precipitation, the enhanced cyclonic eddies induced upwelling for the entire thermocline for over ten days and uplifted nitrates into the mixed layer. This study offers new insights on the influence of eddies in regulating the impacts of typhoons on Chl-a, and the results can help evaluate typhoon-induced biological responses in the future.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0230394 pmid:32275722 fatcat:deaiywkexbhrplgm4u2ibvztte