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Turbulent nitrate fluxes in the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary, Canada
Cyr, F.; Bourgault, D.; Galbraith, P.S.; Gosselin, M. (2015). Turbulent nitrate fluxes in the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary, Canada. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans; 120(3): 2308–2330. dx.doi.org/10.1002/2014JC010272
In: Journal of Geophysical Research. American Geophysical Union: Richmond. ISSN 0148-0227, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Cyr, F., meer
  • Bourgault, D.
  • Galbraith, P.S.
  • Gosselin, M.

Abstract
    Turbulent vertical nitrate fluxes were calculated using new turbulent microstructure observations in the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary (LSLE), Canada. Two stations were compared: the head of the Laurentian Channel (HLC), where intense mixing occurs on the shallow sill that marks the upstream limit of the LSLE, and another station located about 100 km downstream (St. 23), more representative of the LSLE mean mixing conditions. Mean turbulent diffusivities and nitrate fluxes at the base of the surface layer for both stations were, respectively (with 95% confidence intervals): inline image and inline image. Observations suggest that the interplay between large isopleth heaving near the sill and strong turbulence is the key mechanism to sustain such high turbulent nitrate fluxes at the HLC (two to three orders of magnitude higher than those at Station 23). Calculations also suggest that nitrate fluxes at the HLC alone can sustain primary production rates of inline image over the whole LSLE, approximately enough to account for a large part of the phytoplankton bloom and for most of the postbloom production. Surfacing nitrates are also believed to be consumed within the LSLE, not leaving much to be exported to the rest of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

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