Interannual Variabilities of Nutrients and Phytoplankton off the Changjiang Estuary in Response to Changing River Inputs
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Geophysical Research (JGR): Oceans. 2020, 125, 3, e2019JC015595 10.1029/2019JC015595
Coastal ecosystems are strongly influenced by terrestrial inputs of freshwater, sediments, and nutrients, particularly in a megariver estuary of the Changjiang River. A remarkable increase in nutrient loading from the Changjiang River to the shelf has been observed over the period from 1999 to 2016 and turned the region into a high eutrophication condition. The Finite‐Volume Community Ocean Model and the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model were coupled to assess the impact of the nutrient loading on the interannual variability of nutrients and phytoplankton. The model was first validated via observational data, and then dynamical analysis were conducted. Singular vector decomposition analysis indicated that the rapid change of local ecosystem was highly correlated with the change in river nutrient contributions. The Changjiang estuarine ecosystem was phosphate limited. The phosphate exhibited local variation, while the abundant nitrate from the river was diluted by the low‐nitrate oceanic water. The suspended sediment was significantly correlated with phytoplankton but not with nutrients. The ratio of diatom biomass to dinoflagellate biomass respected a rapid response to strong oscillations in the river nutrient input. High diatom primary production occurred near the sediment front, whereas the dinoflagellate bloom extended significantly offshore. The spring diatom and dinoflagellate blooms had major peaks in the empirical orthogonal function Modes 1 and 2, and the autumn bloom is characterized by secondary peaks from Mode 2 in the autumn.