An evaluation of long-term physical and hydrochemical measurements at the Sylt Roads Marine Observatory (1973–2019), Wadden Sea, North Sea


he Sylt Roads pelagic time series covers physical and hydrochemical parameters at five neighboring stations in the Sylt–Rømø bight, Wadden Sea, North Sea. Since the beginning of the time series in 1973, sea surface temperature (SST), salinity, ammonium, nitrite, nitrate, and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) have been measured twice a week. The other parameters were introduced later (dissolved silicate (Si) since 1974, pH since 1979, dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) since 1996, dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) since 2001, chlorophyll a since 1979, and suspended particulate matter (SPM) since 1975), and in the case of dissolved oxygen, were already discontinued (1979–1983). In the years 1977, 1978, and 1983, no sampling took place. Since the start of the continuous sampling in 1984, the sea surface temperature in the bight has risen by +1.11 ∘C, with the highest increases during the autumn months, while the pH and salinity decreased by 0.23 and 0.33 units, respectively. Summer and autumn salinities are generally significantly elevated compared to spring and winter conditions. Dissolved nutrients (ammonium, nitrite, nitrate, and SRP) have displayed periods of intense eutrophication (1973–1998) and de-eutrophication since 1999. Silicate has shown significantly higher winter levels since 1999. Interestingly, phytoplankton parameters did not mirror these large changes in nutrient concentrations, as a seasonal comparison of the two eutrophication periods showed no significant differences with regard to chlorophyll a. This phenomenon might be triggered by an important switch in nutrient limitation during the time series. With regard to nutrients, the phytoplankton was probably primarily limited by silicate until 1998, while, since 1999, the SRP limitation has become increasingly important. All data are available in Rick et al. (2017b–e, 2020a–o) from,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and
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