FCE LTER Journal Articles


Tropical Cyclone Impacts on Coastal Regions: the Case of the Yucatán and the Baja California Peninsulas, Mexico


Tropical cyclones (TCs) are large-scale natural disturbances that generate strong winds and heavy rainfall, impacting coastal and inland environments. TCs also influence biogeochemical and hydrological cycles controlling aquatic primary productivity in tropical and subtropical coastal ecosystems. We assessed TC landfall activity and identified sites along the Mexican east and west coasts with high frequency in the period 1970–2010 and evaluated TCs with significant precipitation. Changes in chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentrations before and after storm impacts were estimated using remotely sensed ocean color. There were 1,065 named TCs with a wide diversity in tracks. Three states with the highest number of landfalls were identified: Baja California Sur and Sinaloa on the west coast and Quintana Roo on the east coast. While a relative increase in Chl-a values following TC landfalls in the Baja California and Yucatán Peninsula regions appeared to be strongly linked to TC strength, the intensity of precipitation, the spatial scales of the two peninsulas, and the relative movement of TCs appeared to have contributed to Chl-a variability. Satellite estimates of Chl-a in the nearshore coastal waters following TC passage were likely enhanced by coastal morphology and water discharge along with constituents such as suspended particulate, colored dissolved organic matter and nutrients from rivers, tributaries, and groundwater.


The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12237-014-9797-2

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DEB-1237517, #DBI-0620409, and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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