Global assessment of benthic nepheloid layers and linkage with upper ocean dynamics Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • © 2017 Elsevier B.V. Global maps of the maximum bottom concentration, thickness, and integrated particle mass in benthic nepheloid layers are published here to support collaborations to understand deep ocean sediment dynamics, linkage with upper ocean dynamics, and assessing the potential for scavenging of adsorption-prone elements near the deep ocean seafloor. Mapping the intensity of benthic particle concentrations from natural oceanic processes also provides a baseline that will aid in quantifying the industrial impact of current and future deep-sea mining. Benthic nepheloid layers have been mapped using 6,392 full-depth profiles made during 64 cruises using our transmissometers mounted on CTDs in multiple national/international programs including WOCE, SAVE, JGOFS, CLIVAR-Repeat Hydrography, and GO-SHIP during the last four decades. Intense benthic nepheloid layers are found in areas where eddy kinetic energy in overlying waters, mean kinetic energy 50 m above bottom (mab), and energy dissipation in the bottom boundary layer are near the highest values in the ocean. Areas of intense benthic nepheloid layers include the Western North Atlantic, Argentine Basin in the South Atlantic, parts of the Southern Ocean and areas around South Africa. Benthic nepheloid layers are weak or absent in most of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic basins away from continental margins. High surface eddy kinetic energy is associated with the Kuroshio Current east of Japan. Data south of the Kuroshio show weak nepheloid layers, but no transmissometer data exist beneath the Kuroshio, a deficiency that should be remedied to increase understanding of eddy dynamics in un-sampled and under-sampled oceanic areas.

published proceedings

  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters

altmetric score

  • 4.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Gardner, W. D., Richardson, M. J., & Mishonov, A. V

citation count

  • 46

complete list of authors

  • Gardner, Wilford D||Richardson, Mary Jo||Mishonov, Alexey V

publication date

  • January 2018