Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-751
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-751
25 Apr 2023
 | 25 Apr 2023

Deoxygenation of the Gulf of Mexico thermocline linked to a decrease in the detachment frequency of Loop Current Eddies

José Gerardo Quintanilla, Juan Carlos Herguera, and Julio Sheinbaum

Abstract. This study presents an oxygen time series of the Gulf Mexico deep water region spanning from 2010 to 2019 using data from 6 oceanographic cruises and one ARGO buoy. The data suggest a deoxygenation trend in the thermocline of the Gulf of Mexico. This deoxygenation trend seems to be connected to a reduction in the number of eddies that detached from the Loop Current from 2010 to 2019 observed with altimetry data from the last two decades, and although the average size of the mesoscale structures shows a slight increase, the average detached area per year almost halved from the 2000–2010 decade to the 2010–2020 decade. Using the oxygen measurements and the altimetry data, a simple box model was formulated to reproduce the measured oxygen temporal variability in the GoM main thermocline from 2000 to 2020. The results from the box model suggest that an average detached Loop Current Eddy area of about 90 000 km2 per year is needed in order to maintain constant oxygen levels in the main thermocline waters. This threshold wasn’t reached during the 2010 to 2020 decade and if the LCE detachment area per year continues to decrease in the future, oxygen concentrations in the Gulf of Mexico thermocline might continue to fall with still unknown effects in the ecological web structure at these depths.

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José Gerardo Quintanilla, Juan Carlos Herguera, and Julio Sheinbaum

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-751', Anonymous Referee #1, 14 May 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply to referee 1', Jose Quintanilla, 29 Jun 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-751', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 May 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply ro referee 2', Jose Quintanilla, 29 Jun 2023
  • AC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-751', Jose Quintanilla, 05 Jun 2023

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-751', Anonymous Referee #1, 14 May 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply to referee 1', Jose Quintanilla, 29 Jun 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-751', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 May 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply ro referee 2', Jose Quintanilla, 29 Jun 2023
  • AC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-751', Jose Quintanilla, 05 Jun 2023
José Gerardo Quintanilla, Juan Carlos Herguera, and Julio Sheinbaum

Data sets

Deoxygenation of the Gulf of Mexico thermocline linked to a decrease in the detachment frequency of Loop Current Eddies José Quintanilla, Juan Carlos Herguera, and Julio Sheinbaum https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7830465

José Gerardo Quintanilla, Juan Carlos Herguera, and Julio Sheinbaum

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Short summary
The reduction of the oxygen concentration in the ocean interior is a worrisome global trend that can be harmful for the marine life. This study presents evidence that the central Gulf of Mexico waters at depths between 200 to 800 m has been affected by an oxygen reduction trend that might be aggravating under climate change. We show evidence that link this oxygen reduction to a decrease in the volume of water transported from the Caribbean in to the Gulf of Mexico via enormous ocean gyres.