PANAMA’S COLD WATER SEASON

The Humboldt Current, helps create one of the world’s most productive marine ecosystems....

Austin Hess 2020-11-12 01:32:53

The Spring and Summer months bring a cold water current to the waters off of the Panama Coast. The Peru Current, more commonly referred to as The Humboldt Current, helps create one of the world’s most productive marine ecosystems. The current is produced by driving winds which displace the warm surface water of the Panama current, allowing the cold Antarctic waters to rise to the surface from the deep. The cooler water temperature results in cooler land temperature as well. There is typically not as much rainfall during this time of year due to the cooler air, resulting in what we call our "Dry Season". This upwelling of cold water is rich in nutrients from the dead and decaying matter found on the sea floor.

The Humboldt Current was named after a German explorer and naturalist by the name of Alexander Von Humboldt. His studies back in the early 1800's took measurements showing the relationship between the cold water and the air and sea during this seasonal time of year.

The current is present year-round off the coast of Peru. Due to the displacement of the subtropical center of high pressure during the spring and summer months, it moves north up the South American coast towards Panama, where it then turns west and merges with the South Equatorial current. Not only does it produce the largest upwelling system, but also the most productive marine ecosystem in the world, consisting primarily of sardines, Jack, and anchovies. The cold nutrient rich waters provide food for phytoplankton, which are the primary food chain "producers" in the ecosystem. It is estimated that approximately 20% of the worlds fish catch is harvested from the Humboldt Current ecosystem.

The upwelling that is created brings abundant nutrients to the surface, which combined with sunlight, produces a rich plankton "bloom". The Humboldt current not only has consistently provided tremendous fishing opportunities off the waters of Panama, but also helps sustain the rich and unique biodiversity within The Archipelago of the Pearl Islands.

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