Using Coupled Models to Study the Effects of River Discharge on Biogeochemical Cycling and Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB STENNIS SPACE CENTER MS OCEANOGRAPHY DIV
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We describe emerging capabilities to understand physical processes and biogeoehemical cycles in coastal waters through the use of satellites, numerical models, and ship observations. Emerging capabilities provide significantly improved ability to model ecological systems and the impact of environmental management actions on them. The complex interaction of physical and biogeoehemical processes responsible for hypoxic events requires an integrated approach to research, monitoring, and modeling in order to fully define the processes leading to hypoxia. Our efforts characterizes the carbon cycle associated with river plumes and the export of organic matter and nutrients form coastal Louisiana wetlands and embayments in a spatially and temporally intensive manner previously not possible. Riverine nutrients clearly affect ecosystems in the northern Gulf of Mexico as evidenced in the occurrence of regional hypoxia events. Less known and largely unqualified is the export of organic matter and nutrients from the large areas of disappearing coastal wetlands and large embayments adjacent to the Louisiana Continental Shelf. This project provides new methods to track the river plume along the shelf and to estimate the rate of export of suspended inorganic and organic paniculate matter and dissolved organic matter form coastal habitats of south Louisiana.
- Medicine and Medical Research