Influence of Physical Forcing on Carbon Microclouds in the Ocean.
Final rept. 1 Jul 92-30 Apr 95,
MARYLAND UNIV CAMBRIDGE CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND ESTUARINE STUDIES
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The transformation of DOC into heterotrophic biomass is an important ecological pathway. This paper studies the theoretical basis for variability in the transformation resulting from aggregations of DOC microzones or microclouds. The paper computes measures of aggregation using the theory of stochastic geometry. The theory enables computation of aggregation in terms of the volume fraction occupied by microclouds and computation of length scales such as covariance functions and spherical contact distributions. Using real data on phytoplankton cell density and size, and conjectured dimensions of microzones, we were able to compute the volume fraction, covariance functions and spherical contact distributions for assemblages of Baltic Sea phytoplankton. By comparing microcloud length scales with molecular diffusion, turbulent diffusion and uncorrelated velocity length scales we determined that variability in the turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate, which might be induced by global and basin scale wind forcing for example, could influence the geometric structure of carbon microclouds. This demonstrates the plausibility of linking the largest scale physical forcing directly to the microscale structure when considering variability in the transformation of primary to secondary production.
- Biological Oceanography
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy