Mitigation of oxygen decline in fjords by freshwater injection
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 2023, 284, 108286. 10.1016/j.ecss.2023.108286
The exchange of water masses between deep fjords and the open ocean is commonly constrained by a topographical barrier called the sill. While fjord water above the sill depth communicates relatively freely with the open ocean, water below the sill depth is caught inside the fjord basin. This basin water may remain stagnant in deep fjords for many successive years. During these periods, the biological consumption of dissolved oxygen is larger than the supply of new oxygen, and the fjord basin might experience hypoxia and even anoxia. Such deoxygenation is natural but can be amplified by warming and human activities involving supplies of organic matter and other nutrients. Here, we use a general circulation model to explore how deoxygenation can be mitigated by injecting fresh water into the fjord basin. The freshwater injection causes density reduction of the basin water with subsequent water exchange and oxygenation. Our results suggest that the basin water of Masfjorden, a 480 m deep fjord with a basin volume of 4 × 109 m3, can avoid deoxygenation with a continuous freshwater injection of 0.05 m3 s−1. We conclude that freshwater injection might be an efficient tool to mitigate the deoxygenation of fjord basins.