Rain triggers seasonal stratification in a temperate shelf sea.

Jardine, JE, Palmer, M, Mahaffey, C ORCID: 0000-0002-4215-7271, Holt, J, Wakelin, SL, Düsterhus, A, Sharples, J ORCID: 0000-0002-7031-3593 and Wihsgott, J ORCID: 0000-0002-7909-0007
(2023) Rain triggers seasonal stratification in a temperate shelf sea. Nature communications, 14 (1). p. 3182.

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The North Atlantic Storm Track acts as a conveyor belt for extratropical cyclones that frequently deliver high winds and rainfall to northwest European shelf seas. Storms are primarily considered detrimental to shelf sea stratification due to wind-driven mixing countering thermal buoyancy, but their impact on shelf scale stratification cycles remains poorly understood. Here, we show that storms trigger stratification through enhanced surface buoyancy from rainfall. A multidecadal model confirms that rainfall contributed to triggering seasonal stratification 88% of the time from 1982 to 2015. Stratification could be further modulated by large-scale climate oscillations, such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (AMV), with stratification onset dates being twice as variable during a positive AMV phase than a negative one. Further insights into how changing storm activity will impact shelf seas are discussed beyond the current view of increasing wind-driven mixing, with significant implications for marine productivity and ecosystem function.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 13 Climate Action
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2023 09:58
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024 03:48
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-38599-y
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3170877