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|Title:||Have droughts and increased water extraction from the Murray River (Australia) reduced coastal ocean productivity?|
|Citation:||Marine and Freshwater Research, 2018; 69(3):343-356|
|Hannah C.C. Auricht, Kenneth D. Clarke, Megan M. Lewis and Luke M. Mosley|
|Abstract:||River discharges are decreasing in many regions of the world; however, the consequences of this on water quality and primary productivity of receiving coastal oceans are largely unclear. We analysed satellite remote-sensing data (MODIS) of the coastal ocean zone that receives outflows from the Murray River, from 2002 to 2016. This system has experienced historical flow reductions and a recent extreme hydrological ‘Millennium’ drought. Remotely sensed chlorophyll-a and particulate organic carbon in the coastal ocean were strongly correlated with river outflows (R² > 0.6) in an 8-km radial buffer zone from the Murray Mouth, and the river influence extended up to ~60 km from the Murray Mouth during high-flow periods. This distance was approximately three times greater than the freshwater plume extent during maximum flows in 2011, suggesting that new primary productivity was created. In contrast, there was no additional coastal ocean productivity above background levels from 2007 to 2010 when river outflows ceased. Hindcast calculations based on historical flows from 1962 to 2002 suggest that declining Murray River flows have greatly reduced primary productivity in adjacent coastal waters. This has potential consequences for higher trophic levels and should be considered in future management planning.|
|Keywords:||Climate change; MODIS; primary productivity; river outflows|
|Rights:||Journal compilation © CSIRO 2018 Open Access CC BY-NC-ND|
|Appears in Collections:||Environment Institute publications|
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