RESOLVING MECHANISMS OF LOCALIZED ENVIRONMENTAL RESILIENCE: A CLOSER LOOK AT OCEAN DYNAMICS IN THE VERDE ISLAND PASSAGE DURING THE 1998 BLEACHING EVENT
Known as the “center of the center” for marine biodiversity, the Verde Island Passage (VIP; Philippines) is valued for its abundance of reef fish and coral species. In 1998, anomalously warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) associated with the El Niño/La Niña resulted in widespread coral bleaching in the Coral Triangle. However, satellite (CORTAD) data indicate that SST anomalies were less extreme in certain regions, including the VIP. In order to diagnose the dynamical mechanisms underlying this observation, we use a high (500m) resolution Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) model of the VIP from 1996-1999, which includes sub-mesoscale features and previously unresolved vertical structure in this relatively narrow passage. Lower SST anomalies in the VIP appear attributable to strong, seasonal surface currents that cool surface conditions through significant island upwelling and mixing resultant from interactions with internal tides. These findings suggest that the VIP's configuration renders it less susceptible to thermal stress incurred by climatic events such as ENSO 1998, highlight the spatial heterogeneity of physical quantities in this geographically complex region, and emphasize the importance of higher-resolution models when anticipating individual ecosystems' vulnerability to climate variability and change.
Drenkard, E. J., Earth Systems Modeling, Rutgers University, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Curchitser, E. N., Earth Systems Modeling, Rutgers University, USA, email@example.com
Dussin, R., Earth Systems Modeling, Rutgers University, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kleypas, J. A., Climate and Global Dynamics, National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA, email@example.com
Castruccio, F. S., Climate and Global Dynamics, National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
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