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Nutrients are crucial in projecting marine ecosystem health in the California Current System

Scientists investigate physical and chemical changes in the California Current System (CCS) in a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. The CCS is one of the world’s most productive ocean regions, indicating that it can support abundant ocean life and is crucial for fisheries and marine biodiversity. Understanding its future under climate change is imperative. Aiming to decipher how different factors will influence the CCS’s productivity, researchers created projections focused on key drivers like wind, currents, ocean layers, and nutrients. Historically, much research has concentrated on upwelling strength—the process by which deep, nutrient-rich water rises to the surface. However, findings from this new study challenge this focus. The models consistently showed that the primary driver of productivity changes will be the nitrate concentration in subsurface waters, rather than upwelling strength.

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