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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-106
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-106
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 26 Apr 2019

Submitted as: research article | 26 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Budget of the total nitrogen in the Yucatan Shelf: driving mechanisms through a physical-biogeochemical coupled model

Sheila N. Estrada-Allis1, Joao M. Azevedo Correia de Souza2, Julio Sheinbaum Pardo1, Cecilia Henriquez Ortiz3, Ismael Mariño-Tapia3, and Jorge A. Herrera-Silveira3 Sheila N. Estrada-Allis et al.
  • 1Physical Oceanography Department, CICESE, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
  • 2MetOcean Solutions/MetService, Raglan, New Zealand
  • 3Departamento Recursos del Mar, CINVESTAV, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Abstract. Continental shelves are the most productive areas in the seas with strongest implications for global Total Nitrogen (TN) cycling. The Yucatan shelf is the largest shelf in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), however, its general TN budget has not been quantified. This is largely due to the lack of significant spatio-temporal in situ measurements and the complexity of the shelf dynamics, including the Yucatan Current, coastal upwelling, Coastal Trapped Waves (CTWs) and bottom Ekman transport. Through a nine years output of a coupled physical-biogeochemical model of the GoM, the TN budget in the Yucatan shelf is quantified. Results indicate that the main entrance of inorganic nitrogen is through its southern and eastern margins. The TN is then advected to the oligotrophic deep GoM and to the deep Campeche bay. The analysis also shows that the inner shelf (50 m isobath) is efficient in terms of TN, since all the DIN imported into the shelf is consumed by the phytoplankton. Rivers contribute 20 % of the TN, while denitrification removes up to 53 % of TN that enters into the inner shelf. The high-frequency variability of the TN fluxes are modulated by the Yucatan Current in the south and by bottom Ekman transport produced by this current against the shelf-break (250 m isobath) in the east. This current-topography interaction can help to maintain the upwelling of Cape Catoche, uplifting nutrient-rich water into the euphotic layer. The export of TN at both western and northwestern margins is modulated by CTWs with a mean period of 10 days in agreement with recent observational and modelling studies.

Sheila N. Estrada-Allis et al.
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Sheila N. Estrada-Allis et al.
Sheila N. Estrada-Allis et al.
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Short summary
Continental shelves are the most productive areas in the ocean and can have an important impact in the nutrient cycle as well as the climate system. The one sited in Yucatan is the largest shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. However, its nutrient budget remains unidentifiable. Here we propose not only a general nutrient budget for the Yucatan shelf but also the physical processes responsible for its pathways modulation through a physical-biogeochemical coupled model of the whole Gulf of Mexico.
Continental shelves are the most productive areas in the ocean and can have an important impact...
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