Cite this paper:
Wei GAO, Zhenyan WANG, Xuegang LI, Haijun HUANG. The increased storage of suspended particulate matter in the upper water of the tropical Western Pacific during the 2015/2016 super El Niño event[J]. Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 2021, 39(5): 1675-1689

The increased storage of suspended particulate matter in the upper water of the tropical Western Pacific during the 2015/2016 super El Niño event

Wei GAO1, Zhenyan WANG1,2,3,4, Xuegang LI3,4,5, Haijun HUANG1,3,4
1 CAS Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, China;
2 Laboratory for Marine Mineral Resources, Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao), Qingdao 266237, China;
3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
4 Center for Ocean Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, China;
5 CAS Key Laboratory of Marine Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, China
The climate variability induced by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle drives significant changes in the physical state of the tropical Western Pacific, which has important impacts on the upper ocean carbon cycle. During 2015-2016, a super El Niño event occurred in the equatorial Pacific. Suspended particulate matter (SPM) data and related environmental observations in the tropical Western Pacific were obtained during two cruises in Dec. 2014 and 2015, which coincided with the early and peak stages of this super El Niño event. Compared with the marine environments in the tropical Western Pacific in Dec. 2014, an obviously enhanced upwelling occurred in the Mindanao Dome region; the nitrate concentration in the euphotic zone almost tripled; and the size, mass concentration, and volume concentration of SPM obviously increased in Dec. 2015. The enhanced upwelling in the Mindanao Dome region carried cold but eutrophic water upward from the deep ocean to shallow depths, even into the euphotic zone, which disrupted the previously N-limited conditions and induced a remarkable increase in phytoplankton blooms in the euphotic zone. These results reveal the mechanism of how nutrient-limited ecosystems in the tropical Western Pacific respond to super El Niño events. In the context of the ENSO cycle, if predicted changes in biogenic particles occur, the proportion of carbon storage in the tropical Western Pacific is estimated to be increased by more than 52%, ultimately affecting the regional and possibly even global carbon cycle. This paper highlights the prospect for long-term prediction of the impact of a super El Niño event on the global carbon cycle and has profound implications for understanding El Niño events.
Key words:    suspended particulate matter|field observations|tropical Western Pacific|2015/2016 super El Niñ    o event|ocean carbon cycle   
Received: 2020-09-26   Revised: 2020-11-17
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