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Nouméa, New Caledonia

Lefevre J.,Noumea Center | Marchesiello P.,Noumea Center | Jourdain N.C.,Noumea Center | Menkes C.,Noumea Center | Leroy A.,Meteo - France
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2010

The local climate and island-scale circulation around New Caledonia is investigated using a 4-km resolution mesoscale atmospheric model in concert with QuikSCAT scatterometer winds at 12.5-km resolution. The mesoscale atmospheric weather regimes are first examined through an objective classification applied to the remote sensed winds for nine warm seasons from 1999 to 2008. Four main weather types are identified. Their corresponding synoptic-scale circulation reveals that they are strongly discernable through the position and intensity of the South Pacific Convergence zone (SPCZ), the mid-latitude systems, and the subtropical jet stream. The link between the mesoscale weather types and the two dominant large-scale modes of variability, namely the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), is also described in terms of their influence on the occurrence of each weather type. It shows that their occurrence is significantly controlled by both MJO and ENSO, through modulation of the SPCZ. The large-scale modes of variability are scaled down to island-scale circulation through synoptic and mesoscale regimes, and are eventually modulated by orographic and thermal control. The island-scale circulation is inferred in this study by applying the compositing method to both observed and simulated winds. Their comparison clearly shows the ability of the mesoscale model to capture the local circulation and its spatial and temporal variability. A scaling analysis conducted from the simulated atmospheric parameters shows that the mountain range of New Caledonia is hydrodynamically steep. As a result of trade-wind obstruction by the mountainous island, the flow is shaped by coastally trapped mesoscale responses, i.e., blocking, flow splitting and corner winds, with a spatial scale of about 150. km. Two main obstacles, Mont Panié and Mont Humboldt play a significant role on the dynamical behavior of the low-level flow, while the diurnal heating cycle in the vicinity of the Mainland strongly modulates the local circulation. Moreover, nocturnal drainage flow of cold air occurs on the leeside slope of Mont Humboldt and inhibits vertical mixing over the ocean, which results in a deceleration of surface winds. © 2010. Source

Weinbauer M.G.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Weinbauer M.G.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Kerros M.-E.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Kerros M.-E.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 8 more authors.
Aquatic Microbial Ecology | Year: 2010

Bacterial abundance and community composition were investigated along trophic gradients in the barrier reef lagoon of Noumea, New Caledonia. Bacterial abundance and the percentage of high nucleic acid (%HNA) bacteria (a potential indicator for bacterial production) increased from offshore waters towards the head of the bays. 16S rRNA gene PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) were used as genetic fingerprints for assessing differences in bacterial community composition. Sequences of DGGE bands were assigned to (1) the genera Rugeria and Roseobacter (Rhodobacteriaceae), (2) the SAR11 cluster, (3) other Alphaproteobacteria, and (4) the genus Alteromonas. Removal of the operationally defined attached bacteria by prefiltration did not affect community profiles in offshore waters but had a strong influence in the bays, probably due to the much higher particle load and thus, attached bacteria in the bays. For the free-living community, the number of bands decreased linearly with increasing water residence time, chlorophyll a concentration, and viral abundance. Specific bands were found for offshore waters and the 2 investigated semi-enclosed bays, whereas the lagoon showed no specific bands. A similarity analysis showed specific clusters for offshore water, the lagoon, and the bays. A principle component analysis together with cluster and correlation analysis indicated that water residence time, viruses, and a complex topdown cascading effect of ciliate grazers on flagellates influenced community composition. Also, data from fingerprints of the total and free-living communities suggest that the free-living and the attached community are controlled by different mechanisms. © Inter-Research 2010. Source

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