Building the future by doing more together

CLIBECO-Climate changes in the Iberian Upwelling Ecosystem: a regional retrospective and scenario study approach
Coordinator - Jesús M. Pedreira Dubert
Programme - POCI/CLI/57752/2004
Execution dates - 2006-05-01 - 2009-10-30 (42 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT
Funding for CESAM - 45040 €
Total Funding - 55000 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro
IPIMAR-INIAP

The Iberian Upwelling Ecosystem (IUE) is the northern limit of NorthEastern Atlantic Upwelling Ecosystem. Contrary to the southern part of the region, the Western Iberia offshore is characterized by slow large-scale circulation, and the upwelling signal is seasonal. In summer, June-September, the regime is Upwelling favourable, and the upper ocean responds with intense southward currents, upwelling fronts, offshore filaments and eddies. These features are part of a non-linear dynamical system associated to the basic upwelling processes, and their impact on the transport and distribution of coastal properties is a matter of research. During the remaining of the year, the circulation is reversed with rare isolated upwelling events. This seasonal signal introduces significant differences in the Ecosystem for two reasons: i) It affects the input of nutrients to the euphotic layer, and consequently the primary production, and the dispersion patterns of the flow. ii) The majority of the species in the IUE have their life and reproductive cycles adapted to this seasonal signal. A large number of pelagic fish species reproduce in winter for the less dispersion nature of this period, and have the summer as the feeding season. Also the mesoscale activity of the coastal transition zone is expected to be a major contributor to the processes controlling the downscaling of global climate changes to the scale of the regional upwelling systems. Changes in the intensity and length of the upwelling period might be critical for the population dynamics of some species and thus determine shifts in the ecosystem. Recently, some changes in the biomass of some pelagic fishes have been detected and attributed to ongoing changes and shifts in the upwelling patterns of this region. The main purpose of the project is to gather meteorologists, physical oceanographers and marine biologists to addresses the following questions: a) Is the upwelling regime in the IUE region changing? b) How are these changes affecting the mains patterns of circulation and dispersion? c) What is the impact in the lower levels of the food chains (primary production)? d) Is it possible to produce scenarios of the ecosystem response to the future climatic changes at a regional scale? To contribute to answer to these questions we propose a study based mainly on modelling studies of climate change projections based on IPCC (IS92a and Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, SRES), which have been widely adopted as standard scenarios for use in impacts assessments and whose model data is widespread available. The coarse atmospheric and oceanographic data generated from those scenarios will be downscaled by high-resolution models for the atmosphere and the ocean. The circulation patterns in the coastal zone generated by these oceanic models will be in turn used by some tools (biological and lagrangial submodels), to assess the impact of the above mentioned changes in the coastal ecosystems. This approach will include a retrospective component and a scenario study mainly using modelling tools.




Members on this project

CESAM Funding: