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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-55
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-55
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 05 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 05 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Environmental controls on marine productivity near Cape St Francis, South Africa

Mark R. Jury1,2 Mark R. Jury
  • 1University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, 3886, South Africa
  • 2Physics Dept. Univ. of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, USA, 00681

Abstract. This study considers ocean-atmosphere influences on marine productivity over the shelf near Cape St Francis, South Africa. Multi-day estimates of chlorophyll fluorescence in the period 2006–2017 with an area: 34.5–33.75S, 24–26.5E, provide the basis for evaluation using data from high resolution reanalysis.

Correlations with the mean annual cycle of chlorophyll fluorescence were significant for salinity, linking marine productivity and the coastal hydrology. A strengthened Agulhas Current induces cyclonic shear that lifts water at the shelf edge. Composite high chlorophyll fluorescence events were dominated by a large-scale mid-latitude atmospheric ridge of high pressure. The resultant easterly winds caused offshore transport and the upwelling of cool nutrient-rich water, in multi-day events at the beginning and end of austral summer.

Environmental controls on inter-annual fluctuations of the commercial fishery were also explored. Southwestward currents and diminished heat fluxes favoured squid catch, while anchovy and sardine were linked with upper northerly wind, consistent with large-scale weather patterns that underpin coastal upwelling and river discharge. Productivity lags a few days behind cyclonic wind and current shear and the upstream coastal hydrology, which shares a common atmospheric driver.

Mark R. Jury
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Latest update: 23 Aug 2019
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Short summary
This research considers the physical environmental factors that underpin changes in ocean productivity over the shelf of South Africa, where coastal upwelling occurs next to a warm current. Statistical analysis of model assimilated data show that salinity and wind play prominent roles in changes of chlorophyll content, with possible consequences for the coastal fishery.
This research considers the physical environmental factors that underpin changes in ocean...
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