Climatic factors and their robust evidences controlling phytoplankton biomass in the Bransfield Strait

  • Author(s): Hyoung Sul La, Keyhong Park, Jeong Yeob Chae, Taewook Park, and Jisoo Park
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2019.04.30.01
  • Keywords: Chlorophyll Interannual variation ENSO Bransfield Strait Antarctica
  • Citation: La, H. S., K. Park, J. Y. Chae, T. Park, and J. Park, 2019: Climatic factors and their robust evidences controlling phytoplankton biomass in the Bransfield Strait. Terr. Atmos. Ocean. Sci., 30, 821-830, doi: 10.3319/TAO.2019.04.30.01
  • Large interannual Chl-a variation is observed in the Bransfield Strait
  • The Chl-a variation is strongly correlated with ENSO, SST, and wind speed
  • A simple multivariable regression with the 3 variables successfully predicted Chl-a

The long-term variability of chlorophyll a (Chl-a) was analyzed during a 12-year period (2002 - 2014) in the Bransfield Strait, Antarctica, to assess the interannual variability of the Chl-a and its main regulating environmental variables. We found that Chl-a was significantly correlated with the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase (r = -0.65), sea surface temperature (SST) (r = 0.70), and wind speed (r = 0.72), and changes in these factors preceded the Chl-a change by 0 - 4 months. High phytoplankton blooms (indicated by Chl-a levels) tended to coincide with higher SSTs, and lagged with wind speed variation during La Niña periods. This suggests that atmospheric teleconnections with ENSO-related processes, SST, and wind speed could have a direct impact on phytoplankton biomass in the Bransfield Strait in short-term (< 4 months) scales. Furthermore, our simple multivariable regression analysis showed the prominent possibility of using the three variables to predict Chla in the Bransfield Strait region. Overall, this study will help us to understand how atmospheric and oceanic fluctuations could affect phytoplankton dynamics in the Southern Ocean.

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