Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
2004 projects
Upper ocean biogeochemistry

Biogeochemical responses to climate variability

Lead Scientist: Francisco Chavez

This project is entering its 3rd year and covers the scientific aspects of several projects. Efforts center on the collection of time series data that examine system changes on daily to decadal time scales. When this data is combined with data from individual process studies and spatial surveys, powerful views of ocean dynamics are obtained. The scientific aspects of following programs are covered under this project:

  • Monterey Bay Time Series (MBTS) day-cruise series—MBTS has been documenting seasonal cycles, El Niños, and La Niñas since 1988 and is a leading example of MBARI’s support of long-term programs.
  • California Current System—multiday cruises document dynamics from Monterey Bay, extending 175 miles offshore into the core of the California current. 
  • Air/sea flux rates of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide—Transfer of carbon dioxide between the sea and atmosphere are measured by an MBARI-developed automated system. 
  • Data management, synthesis, and modeling—Mooring data (M1, M2 and S2 ) are processed and disseminated on the internet. Development of a central California hydrographic model is guided by real-world data collected under this project. 

Through the above we continue exploration of both local and basin-scale system function. At present we are focused on (a) the North Pacific Decadal Oscillation and its impacts on (b) variations in the equatorward surface flow of the California Current and the position of its highest velocity core, (c) variations in the poleward subsurface flow and nutrient load of the California Undercurrent from the Eastern Tropical Pacific, and (d) the effects of these larger phenomena on the central California coastal upwelling system and biological productivity of Monterey Bay.

Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009