Dynamical connections between large marine ecosystems of austral South America based on numerical simulations

Guihou, Karen; Piola, Alberto R.; Palma, Elbio D.; Chidichimo, Maria Paz

The Humboldt Large Marine Ecosystem (HLME) and Patagonian Large Marine Ecosystem (PLME) are the two largest marine ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere and are respectively located along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of southern South America. This work investigates the exchange between these two LMEs and its seasonal and interannual variability by employing numerical model results and offline particle-tracking algorithms. Our analysis suggests a general poleward transport on the southern region of the HLME, a well-defined flux from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and equatorward transport on the PLME.

Lagrangian simulations show that the majority of the southern PS waters originate from the upper layer in the southeast South Pacific (inline-formula<200 m), mainly from the southern Chile and Cape Horn shelves. The exchange takes place through the Le Maire Strait, Magellan Strait, and the shelf break. These inflows amount to a net northeastward transport of 0.88 Sv at 51inline-formula S in the southern PLME. The transport across the Magellan Strait is small (0.1 Sv), but due to its relatively low salinity it greatly impacts the density and surface circulation of the coastal waters of the southern PLME. The water masses flowing into the Malvinas Embayment eventually reach the PLME through the Malvinas Shelf and occupy the outer part of the shelf. The seasonal and interannual variability of the transport are also addressed. On the southern PLME, the interannual variability of the shelf exchange is partly explained by the large-scale wind variability, which in turn is partly associated with the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index (inline-formular=0.52).

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Guihou, Karen / Piola, Alberto R. / Palma, Elbio D. / et al: Dynamical connections between large marine ecosystems of austral South America based on numerical simulations. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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