Saharan dust deposition may affect phytoplankton growth in the mediterranean sea at ecological time scales
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The surface waters of the Mediterranean Sea are extremely poor in the nutrients necessary for plankton growth. At the same time, the Mediterranean Sea borders with the largest and most active desert areas in the world and the atmosphere over the basin is subject to frequent injections of mineral dust particles. We describe statistical correlations between dust deposition over the Mediterranean Sea and surface chlorophyll concentrations at ecological time scales. Aerosol deposition of Saharan origin may explain 1 to 10% (average 5%) of seasonally detrended chlorophyll variability in the low nutrient-low chlorophyll Mediterranean. Most of the statistically significant correlations are positive with main effects in spring over the Eastern and Central Mediterranean, conforming to a view of dust events fueling needed nutrients to the planktonic community. Some areas show negative effects of dust deposition on chlorophyll, coinciding with regions under a large influence of aerosols from European origin. The influence of dust deposition on chlorophyll dynamics may become larger in future scenarios of increased aridity and shallowing of the mixed layer
CitationGallisai, R. [et al.]. Saharan dust deposition may affect phytoplankton growth in the mediterranean sea at ecological time scales. "PLoS one", 21 Octubre 2014, vol. 9, núm. 10, p. 1-10.