The marine environment of the Canary Islands is governed by the interaction of the north west African coastal upwelling, the open ocean and the time varying eastern boundary current of the subtropical gyre. Strong seasonal variability results from changes in the trade wind regime and solar heating. Small scale features of great importance include cold filaments introducing coastally upwelled water to the island region, cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies arising from the interference of the islands with the wind and current fields, and warm wakes behind the islands. These characteristics and a modelling approach have been studied.
The Canary Islands intersect the boundary between eutrophic continental shelf waters affected by upwelling and oligotrophic open ocean waters. Variability in this transition zone arises from both the influence of elongated filaments of cool, nutrient rich water upwelled at the coast extending several hundred kilometres offshore and also the production of eddies and island wakes downstream and downwind of the islands. These processes can result in significant biological enhancement near the archipelago. The programme will study the physical characteristics of the flow and hydrography associated with upwelling filaments and island induced eddies. It will quantify the biological response to these physical phenomena in terms of nutrient dynamics, plankton production and distribution and enhanced larval survival rates. The short term and seasonal variability of the dominant physical and biological processes near the islands will be studied. A combination of remote sensing, monitoring of sea level, in-situ observations during different seasons and numerical modelling will be used.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
38120 Santa Cruz De Tenerife
35017 Las Palmas De Gran Canaria