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What happens to the nutrient cycle when typhoons churn the sea: Insights from the eye of the storm

Typhoon "Mangkhut" over China on September 16, 2018
Typhoon "Mangkhut" makes landfall over China on September 16, 2018. A team of IOW researchers was on site to collect a unique dataset in the affected part of the South China Sea. (Photo: NASA Worldview)

In September 2018, an expedition as part of the German-Chinese project MEGAPOL was affected by the super typhoon “Mangkhut”. This resulted in the collection of unique data sets on the nutrient budget in the impacted part of the South China Sea. It became clear that serious changes were triggered by the super typhoon not only on land but also at sea: Enormous amounts of nutrients were mixed into the surface water from deeper layers, where they tripled the growth of phytoplankton in a few weeks. The typhoon had a particularly pronounced effect in the transition from the deep sea to the shallow coastal ocean.

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