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Solar radiation, phytoplankton pigments and the radiant heating of the equatorial Pacific warm poolRecent optical, physical, and biological oceanographic observations are used to assess the magnitude and variability of the penetrating flux of solar radiation through the mixed layer of the warm water pool (WWP) of the western equatorial Pacific Ocean. Typical values for the penetrative solar flux at the climatological mean mixed layer depth for the WWP (30 m) are approx. 23 W/sq m and are a large fraction of the climatological mean net air-sea heat flux (approx. 40 W/sq m). The penetrating solar flux can vary significantly on synoptic timescales. Following a sustained westerly wind burst in situ solar fluxes were reduced in response to a near tripling of mixed layer phytoplankton pigment concentrations. This results in a reduction in the penetrative flux at depth (5.6 W/sq m at 30 m) and corresponds to a biogeochemically mediated increase in the mixed layer radiant heating rate of 0.13 C per month. These observations demonstrate a significant role of biogeochemical processes on WWP thermal climate. We speculate that this biogeochemically mediated feedback process may play an important role in enhancing the rate at which the WWP climate system returns to normal conditions following a westerly wind burst event.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Siegel, David A. (California Univ. Santa Barbara, CA, United States)
Ohlmann, J. Carter (California Univ. Santa Barbara, CA, United States)
Washburn, Libe (California Univ. Santa Barbara, CA, United States)
Bidigare, Robert R. (Hawaii Univ. Honolulu, HI, United States)
Nosse, Craig T. (California Univ. Santa Barbara, CA, United States)
Fields, Erik (California Univ. Santa Barbara, CA, United States)
Zhou, Yimei (Hawaii Univ. Honolulu, HI, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
March 15, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 100
Issue: C3
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits