results - freshwater influence on productivity
In the Pacific Northwest, the coastal waters are strongly influenced by freshwater inputs from the Strait of Juan de Fuca (fed by the Fraser River and the rivers of Puget Sound) and the Columbia River. These rivers act as a conduit for land-derived nutrients and as a facilitator for entraining ocean-derived nutrients into the coastal euphotic zone. Riverine delivery of nutrients to the coastal ocean may play an important role in winter and spring phytoplankton blooms along the Washington and Oregon coasts. In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, freshwater flow influences estuarine exchange, where deep, high-nutrient waters are upwelled from a submarine canyon and entrained into surface waters. Additionally, the Columbia River plume modifies flow on the shelf and can play a significant role in the retention and transport of phytoplankton communities along the coast.
- KA Davis is using the numerical simulations to investigate the influence of freshwater on productivity. She is accomplishing this through several numerical experiments in which the major freshwater sources (the Salish Sea and the Columbia River) are shut off. More results regarding the influence of freshwater on productivity will be here soon!
- SN Giddings is using the simulations to study the impact of the Columbia River plume on transport pathways to the coast.
Figure 1. Freshwater influences
Three snapshots of a passive dye tracer in the Columbia (left) and Fraser (right) rivers to visualize the presence of riverine water from these two different sources on the coast. Results are from a 2005 hindcast simulation where the dye concentration input at the river mouths is 1.
Figure 2. Upwelling
Cross-sections of modeled nitrate along the LAB Line and Line 47N for 28-30 August 2005 during a period of upwelling-favorable winds. The horizontal axis is longitude, z axis is depth. These cross section lines are marked on the map at the right.
Figure 3. Upwelling
Snapshots of modeled surface chlorophyll-a, a proxy for phytoplankton, throughout the year 2005.