Large and local-scale influences on physical and chemical characteristics of coastal waters of Western Europe during winter

Abstract : There is now a strong scientific consensus that coastal marine systems of Western Europe are highly sensitive to the combined effects of natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change. However, it still remains challenging to assess the spatial and temporal scales at which climate influence operates. While large-scale hydro-climatic indices, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) or the East Atlantic Pattern (EAP) and the weather regimes such as the Atlantic Ridge (AR), are known to be relevant predictors of physical processes, changes in coastal waters can also be related to local hydro-meteorological and geochemical forcing. Here, we study the temporal variability of physical and chemical characteristics of coastal waters located at about 48°N over the period 1998-2013 using (1) sea surface temperature, (2) sea surface salinity and (3) nutrient concentration observations for two coastal sites located at the outlet of the Bay of Brest and off Roscoff, (4) river discharges of the major tributaries close to these two sites and (5) regional and local precipitation data over the region of interest. Focusing on the winter months, we characterize the physical and chemical variability of these coastal waters and document changes in both precipitation and river runoffs. Our study reveals that variability in coastal waters is connected to the large-scale North Atlantic atmospheric circulation but is also partly explained by local river influences. Indeed, while the NAO is strongly related to changes in sea surface temperature at the Brest and Roscoff sites, the EAP and the AR have a major influence on precipitations, which in turn modulate river discharges that impact sea surface salinity at the scale of the two coastal stations.
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https://hal.univ-brest.fr/hal-02330574
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 24, 2019 - 9:46:54 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 11:13:59 AM

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Paul Tréguer, Eric Goberville, Nicolas Barrier, Stéphane l'Helguen, Pascal Morin, et al.. Large and local-scale influences on physical and chemical characteristics of coastal waters of Western Europe during winter. Journal of Marine Systems, Elsevier, 2014, 139, pp.79-90. ⟨10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.05.019⟩. ⟨hal-02330574⟩

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