Vertical transport of particulate organic matter regulated by fjord topography



[1] The deepwater in many areas with restricted water exchange suffers from low oxygen concentrations due to degradation of organic matter. The objective of this study was to investigate how topography may influence the vertical transport, Fc, of particulate organic matter, POM, to the deepwater. A conceptual/analytical model for Fc was developed covering the combination of the three possible sources of POM/nutrients to an enclosed area; the coastal water, local supply, and nutrient rich local deepwater. The mathematical formulation of the conceptual model includes several factors describing to which degree various physical mechanisms in the fjord are influencing Fc. The model consists of submodels for the different sources of POM/nutrients. A one-dimensional process oriented numerical model was used to test the conceptual model. Restricted water exchange with the coastal water led to decreased import of POM and thereby decreased vertical transport, Fc, of coastal POM. The contribution to Fc by local input of nutrients to the surface layer was described by a function of the residence time of the water above sill level, Tsw and the time Tp it takes for POM produced in the surface layer to settle below sill level. The recirculation of POM produced due to basin water renewals was shown to be a function of several factors: The relation between the depth of photic zone, Hp and the sill depth, Ht, the vertical velocity of the rising nutrient rich water mass versus the settling velocity of POM, etc. The results based on the conceptual submodels agreed well with the results from the process oriented numerical model. Methods to identify the trophic state of coastal waters, and also simple models to calculate the effect of a local point source, can be found in literature. However, using the model developed in this paper the effects of nutrient enrichment from different sources can be quantified in a simple and more efficient way than earlier. The model can thus be used to categorise areas with respect to sensitivity to local and large scale eutrophication, which is an important step towards better management and more sustainable exploitation of the coastal zone.