Oxygen pathways and budget for the Eastern South Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zone

Llanillo, PJ, Pelegri JL, Talley LD, Pena-Izquierdo J, Cordero RR.  2018.  Oxygen pathways and budget for the Eastern South Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zone. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 123:1722-1744.

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atlantic, cell, circulation, dianeutral advection, eastern South Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zone, el-nino, hydrographic section, northern chile, ocean, Oceanography, oxygen budget, peru-chile undercurrent, subtropical, subtropical pathway, tropical pacific, variability, ventilation, water


Ventilation of the eastern South Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zone (ESP-OMZ) is quantified using climatological Argo and dissolved oxygen data, combined with reanalysis wind stress data. We (1) estimate all oxygen fluxes (advection and turbulent diffusion) ventilating this OMZ, (2) quantify for the first time the oxygen contribution from the subtropical versus the traditionally studied tropical-equatorial pathway, and (3) derive a refined annual-mean oxygen budget for the ESP-OMZ. In the upper OMZ layer, net oxygen supply is dominated by tropical-equatorial advection, with more than one-third of this supply upwelling into the Ekman layer through previously unevaluated vertical advection, within the overturning component of the regional Subtropical Cell (STC). Below the STC, at the OMZ's core, advection is weak and turbulent diffusion (isoneutral and dianeutral) accounts for 89% of the net oxygen supply, most of it coming from the oxygen-rich subtropical gyre. In the deep OMZ layer, net oxygen supply occurs only through turbulent diffusion and is dominated by the tropical-equatorial pathway. Considering the entire OMZ, net oxygen supply (3.8 +/- 0.42 mu mol kg(-1) yr(-1)) is dominated by isoneutral turbulent diffusion (56.5%, split into 32.3% of tropical-equatorial origin and 24.2% of subtropical origin), followed by isoneutral advection (32.0%, split into 27.6% of tropical-equatorial origin and 4.4% of subtropical origin) and dianeutral diffusion (11.5%). One-quarter (25.8%) of the net oxygen input escapes through dianeutral advection (most of it upwelling) and, assuming steady state, biological consumption is responsible for most of the oxygen loss (74.2%).