Interannual coupled Rossby waves in the extratropical Indian Ocean propagate westward in covarying pycnocline depth, sea surface temperature, and meridional surface wind anomalies from the west coast of Australia between 15degreesS and 35degreesS, taking 3-4 years to transit the interior ocean to Madagascar. In the interior subtropical gyre, where the tuna longline catch (TLC) mainly concerns two species (albacore and bigeye), these waves have been observed to affect year-to-year changes in catch, with wave crests (troughs) in the main pycnocline associated with high (low) TLC anomalies. This suggested that tuna longline catch is associated with the entrainment of nutrient-rich pycnocline water into the photic zone and a subsequent increase in primary productivity there. Here, this hypothesis is examined within the context of SeaWiFS chlorophyll concentration (CC). We find the situation the opposite of that expected, with wave crests (troughs) in the main pycnocline associated with low (high) CC anomalies averaged over the photic zone. These results are shown to be consistent with a model relating the anomalous CC tendency to upper-layer divergence in the wave, not unlike that relating surface slicks to upper-layer divergence in internal gravity waves. Thus, the connection between interannual coupled Rossby waves and TLC in the interior subtropical gyre does not appear to derive from wave-induced modulation of the pelagic food web.
816WATimes Cited:2Cited References Count:31