Physical and Biological Consequences of a Climate Event in the Central North Pacific

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Climatic changes over the North Pacific which began in the mid 1970s, peaked in the early 1980s, and ended by the late 1980s, appear to have altered productivity at various trophic levels in the marine ecosystem in the central North Pacific. The climatic change resulted in increased mixed layer depth and the frequency of deep mixing events, particularly during January-March. A number of biological time series for species ranging from primary to apex levels in the North-western Hawaiian Islands, show corresponding declines in productivity of 30–50% from the early 1980s to the present. We hypothesize that during the early 1980s, increased mixing due to the climate event resulted in greater nutrient input into the euphotic zone and ultimately increased ecosystem productivity. Productivity over a range of trophic levels declined when the climate event ended.

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Fisheries Oceanography, v. 3, issue 1, p. 15-21