Event-scale blooms drive enhanced primary productivity at the Subtropical Convergence,
Llido J., Garçon V., Lutjeharms J.R.E. and Sudre J.,
Geophysical Research Letters, 32/L15611, 10.1029/2005GL022880.
Frontal systems in the Southern Ocean are known for their enhanced biological activity, with some tantalising suggestions that this enhancement may be intermittent. We have used frequent satellite ocean colour observations to investigate the Subtropical Convergence south of Africa. We demonstrate that the biological enhancement takes place as episodic chlorophyll bloom events with limited spatial and temporal scales. Most of the events appear in austral spring-summer. Two typical lifetimes, 8Â–24 and 40Â–60 days, emerge unambiguously during these seasons. A similar analysis has been carried out on modelled chlorophyll fields to investigate the physical-biogeochemical causes for such events. Strong and swift stratification, alleviating the light limitation on growth of phytoplankton, causes the appearance of a bloom. A mixed layer depth expansion subsequently leads to a rapid disappearance of the simulated event. Phytoplankton horizontal transport, either zonal or meridional, also plays a key role on the lifetime of the bloom events.