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Spatio-temporal variability of oceanographic conditions in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cuba
Avila-Alonso, D.; Baetens, J.M.; Cardenas, R.; De Baets, B. (2020). Spatio-temporal variability of oceanographic conditions in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cuba. J. Mar. Syst. 212: 103416. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2020.103416
In: Journal of Marine Systems. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Amsterdam. ISSN 0924-7963; e-ISSN 1879-1573, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine/Coastal
Author keywords
    Exclusive Economic Zone of Cuba; Oceanographic conditions; Remote sensing; Trends

Authors  Top 
  • Avila-Alonso, D., more
  • Baetens, J.M., more
  • Cardenas, R.
  • De Baets, B., more

Abstract
    In this work we assessed the spatio-temporal variability of the oceanographic conditions in the period 1998–2017 in four sectors of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cuba, referred to as the northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast sectors (i.e., NWS, NES, SWS and SES, respectively). We relied upon remote-sensing observations of wind speed, sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface height anomaly (SSHA) and chlorophyll-a (chl-a) concentration along with model predictions of mixed layer depth (MLD), nitrate concentration and net primary production (NPP). We found evidence of the spatially heterogeneous oceanographic conditions of the EEZ of Cuba, since the analysed variables fluctuated spatially with meridional and zonal gradients. Overall, the southern sectors were warmer and less productive than the northern ones, thereby showing the influence of the Caribbean Sea. The NWS showed the highest variability of the physical and biological variables analysed, given the convergence of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico waters and the Loop Current variability. The NES was strongly influenced by coastal conditions given its limited area and long coast line. Besides, a significant decadal increase in SSHA was linked to that in SST. Still, this warming trend was not reflected in the chl-a concentration and NPP trends, which is consistent with the fact that there has been no change over the studied 20 years in mean wind regime and MLD. Furthermore, the strong El Niño Southern Oscillation events of 1997–1998 and 2015–2016 appear to have considerably impacted the surface chl-a concentration, which was partially governed by the variability of the MLD.

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