Circulation and horizontal fluxes in the northern Adriatic Sea in the period June 1999-July 2002. Part II: nutrients transport

Federica Grilli, Mauro Marini, Danilo Degobbis, Carla R Ferrari, Paola Fornasiero, Aniello Russo, Manuela Gismondi, Tamara Djakovac, Robert Precali, Raffaela Simonetti
Science of the Total Environment 2005 December 15, 353 (1): 115-25
Nutrient concentrations (orthophosphate, orthosilicate and dissolved inorganic nitrogen-DIN) were measured on three transects in the northern Adriatic approximately monthly in the period June 1999-July 2002. The net nutrient transports across the three transects were estimated from these concentration values and calculated water fluxes [Grilli F, Paschini E, Russo A, Precali R, Supić N. Circulation and horizontal fluxes in the Northern Adriatic Sea in the period June 1999_July 2002. Part I: geostrophic circulation and current measurement. Sci Total Environ 2005-this issue], with the aim to verify their possible role in the mucilage phenomenon. The nutrient transports in the northern Adriatic were very variable, seasonally and from year to year, both in intensity and direction. Some differences were noticed also among the nutrient species. At the northernmost transect Po Delta-Rovinj minimal values and variable directions were recorded, probably due to the prevailing of eastward transversal transports, observed already in late winter, and generally dominant in spring and summer. Northward transport was often measured at the central transect Cesenatico-Cape Kamenjak, particularly in spring 2000 and 2002, and summer 2001, as well as for only DIN in summer 1999. In contrast, southward directions prevailed at the southernmost transect Senigallia-Susak Island. In October significant southward transports occurred at all transects and for all nutrients, particularly strong in 2000, when exceptionally high Po River discharges occurred, and the Western Adriatic Current (WAC) was well developed. However, the nutrient transports in the upper water column were low or northwards at both transect Cesenatico-Cape Kamenjak and Senigallia-Susak Island in June and July 2000, 2001, and 2002, when the mucilage phenomenon developed, but were opposite in 1999, a year without events. The results suggest that high variations of nutrient fluxes and their ratios, in conditions of reduced water dynamics, are essential for the development of the phenomenon, rather than the absolute amounts of the nutrient inputs.

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