It has been hypothesized that global warming will strengthen upwelling‐favorable winds in the Northern Humboldt Current System (NHCS) as a consequence of the increase of the land–sea thermal gradient along the Peruvian coast. The effect of strengthened winds in this region is assessed with the use of a coupled physical–biogeochemical model forced with projected and climatological winds. Strengthened winds induce an increase in primary production of 2% per latitudinal degree from 9.5°S to 5°S. In some important coastal upwelling sites primary production is reduced. This is due to a complex balance between nutrient availability, nutrient use efficiency, as well as eddy‐ and wind‐driven factors. Mesoscale activity induces a net offshore transport of inorganic nutrients, thus reducing primary production in the coastal upwelling region. Wind mixing, in general disadvantageous for primary producers, leads to shorter residence times in the southern and central coastal zones. Overall, instead of a proportional enhancement in primary production due to increased winds, the NHCS becomes only 5% more productive (+5 mol C m−2 year−1), 10% less limited by nutrients and 15% less efficient due to eddy‐driven effects. It is found that regions with a initial strong nutrient limitation are more efficient in terms of nutrient assimilation which makes them more resilient in face of the acceleration of the upwelling circulation.
Global Change Biology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ;
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