Journal Article

Is there a connection between high transport of water through the Rockall Trough and ecological changes in the North Sea?

N. Penny Holliday and Philip C. Reid

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 58, issue 1, pages 270-274
Published in print January 2001 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2001 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jmsc.2000.1008
Is there a connection between high transport of water through the Rockall Trough and ecological changes in the North Sea?

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Changes in the ecosystem of the North Sea may occur as pronounced inter-annual and step-wise shifts as well as gradual trends. Marked inter-annual shifts have occurred at least twice in the last two decades, the late 1980s and the late 1990s, that appear to reflect an increased inflow of oceanic water and species. Numerical modelling has demonstrated a link between altered rates of inflow of oceanic water into the northern North Sea and a regime shift after 1988. In 1989 and 1997 oceanic species not normally found in the North Sea were observed there, suggesting pulses of oceanic water had entered the basin and triggered the subsequent ecosystem change. The oceanic water has origins mainly west of Britain in the Rockall Trough, where the long-term mean volume transport is around 3.7 Sv northwards (1 Sv = 106 m3s−1), but in early 1989 and early 1998 was observed to be more than twice the mean value, reaching over 7 Sv. These periods of high transport coinciding with the inferred pulses of oceanic water into the North Sea suggest a connection through the continental shelf edge current.

Keywords: Rockall Trough; North Sea; interannual variability; zooplankton; phytoplankton; geostrophic transport; shelf edge current

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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