Modeling Hypoxia and Its Ecological Consequences in Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is a valuable recreational, ecological and economic resource that is subject to environmental hazards, such as harmful algal bloom (HAB) and hypoxia, which can degrade the Bay’s health and jeopardize the viability of this important natural resource. As a step toward developing the capability to forecast such hazards, a biogeochemical version of the Chesapeake Bay Regional Ocean Modeling System (ChesROMS) has been developed. The model framework encompasses the physical, biogeochemical and bio-optical effects of river borne sediments, atmospheric deposition, nutrient and dissolved organic matter inputs, and benthic interactions throughout the Bay. These influences all contribute to the evolution of dissolved oxygen in the Bay’s waters, in particular the consistent annual development of anoxia in the bottom waters of the mid-Bay region. Here, we report on the performance of a newly developed, mechanistic dissolved oxygen formulation that has been incorporated into the ChesROMS model with the motivation to realistically resolve seasonally developing hypoxia/anoxia in the Bay. Insights into various biophysical interactions and biogeochemical processes of the Bay gained from these numerical experiments are considered, and the application of the ChesROMS model fields in short-term ecological forecast applications is discussed.
KeywordsHypoxia Anoxia Numerical modeling Ecological forecasting ROMS Chesapeake Bay
The authors thank Wen Long, Jiangtao Xu, and Lyon Lanerolle for their contributions to the development of the ChesROMS biogeochemical model. We would also like to thank the two reviewers of our chapter for their insightful comments, which were extremely useful in improving this contribution. Funding for this work was primarily provided by the NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research’s Monitoring for Event Response for Harmful Algal Bloom (MERHAB) Program (NA05NOS4781222, NA05NOS4781226, NA05NOS4781227, and NA05NOS4781229). Additional support was provided by the NOAA EcoForecasting Program, the NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research, and Maryland Sea Grant. This is MERHAB publication 189 and UMCES contribution no. 5138. The views, opinions, and findings contained in this report are those of the authors and should not be construed as an official NOAA or U.S. Government position, policy, or decision.
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