Intensification of tropical Pacific biological productivity due to volcanic eruptions

Chikamoto, Megumi O.; Timmermann, Axel; Yoshimori, Masakazu; Lehner, Flavio; Laurian, Audine; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Mouchet, Anne; Joos, Fortunat; Raible, Christoph C.; Cobb, Kim M. (2016). Intensification of tropical Pacific biological productivity due to volcanic eruptions. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(3), pp. 1184-1192. American Geophysical Union 10.1002/2015gl067359

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Major volcanic eruptions generate widespread ocean cooling, which reduces upper ocean stratification. This effect has the potential to increase nutrient delivery into the euphotic zone and boost biological productivity. Using externally forced last millennium simulations of three climate/Earth System
models (Model for Interdisciplinary Research On Climate (MIROC), Community Earth System Model (CESM), and LOch-Vecode-Ecbilt-CLio-agIsm Model (LOVECLIM)), we test the hypothesis that large volcanic eruptions intensify nutrient-driven export production. It is found that strong volcanic radiative forcing enhances the likelihood of eastern Pacific El Niño-like warming in CESM and LOVECLIM. This leads to an initial reduction of nutrients and export production in the eastern equatorial Pacific. However, this initial response reverses after about 3 years in association with La Niña cooling. The resulting delayed enhancement of biological production resembles the multiyear response in MIROC. The model simulations show that volcanic impacts on tropical Pacific dynamics and biogeochemistry persist for several years, thus
providing a new source for potential multiyear ecosystem predictability.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Joos, Fortunat and Raible, Christoph


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




American Geophysical Union




Doris Rätz

Date Deposited:

02 Mar 2016 10:02

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:51

Publisher DOI:





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