The Poseidon Conveyer

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One of the most important oceanic current variations, in terms of fishing and aquaculture, is the Lamont-Kandinsky-Hackett cycle, also known as the Poseidon Conveyer effect or the Primary Poseidon Gyre.

The first component occurs around the Arc of Fire. A major upwelling of cold, benthic waters sits east of Albion, in the Southern Hope Chain. These currents, rich in nutrients, flow east and then north along either side of the Arc. Aridity systems to either side of the Arc then cause these surface currents to fall back to the ocean floor.

The second part of the conveyer starts to the east of the Pacifica Archipelago. Surface currents move west, then divide into a northwestern and southeastern current. The northwestern current is strong, encountering a downflow near New Hawaii. This benthic current moves slowly around the archipelago, joined by weaker benthic flows, until it arrives to the western waters off of the Pacifica Archipelago shelf. Here, western winds create an upwelling, bringing the current to the surface.

Changes in weather systems can disrupt the aridity systems flanking the Arc. This is most frequent during the storm season, when powerful cyclonics in the Southern Hemisphere can intersect with them. Usually only the western aridity systems are affected. In any case, when the systems are weakened, it begins the Even Phase of the cycle.

Result«

The intersection of cyclones with the aridity systems has the benefit of reducing storm activity in Darwin's Archipelago and the Pacifica Archipelago.

Once these systems are weakened, however, the upwelling west of the Arc of Fire slows down. This backs the system up. The northern flow to the west is weakened, increasing the northern flow to the east. This flow diverts further east, moving away from the Arc of Fire.

On the western coasts of the Arc of Fire, weather is warmer and more humid, but fishing and aquaculture are stricken. Storms are more common, particularly in the north.

On the eastern coast, weather is slightly warmer and fishing is still poor. However, deep oceanic animals thrive far to the east, and deep-ocean fishing booms. This effect is lessened if the eastern aridity system is weakened.

Rainstorms north of the Arc accompany the same weather system that sends cyclonics to the Arc. This can create an El Nino-like effect, slowing the tradewinds that cross Poseidon's Reach. This, in turn, slows down the downflow east of the Pacifica Archipelago and upwelling west of Darwin's Archipelago and the Endeavor Islands. The effect is not acute, but can snowball with other factors.

Timing

How long and when these events occur is still unknown. About four distinct Even Phases have occurred during human occupation of Poseidon, with no clear timing. The storm pattern lasts two to three years, with the oceanographic effects lasting another three years. The eastern current of the Arc moves over longer periods than the western current. The last Even Phase ended in 2193. No Even Phase has been observed where the eastern subtropical system is also weakened, but models suggest strongly that it should occur occasionally.

The timing of the Pacifica component is very long, and it is estimated that the lagtime is on the order of centuries. There is no clear, observable link between when the Even Phase of the Arc of Fire begins and when that of the Pacifica Archipelago begins. This component occurs more slowly and over longer periods than the other, though it is not known precisely how long these periods last. The

BLUE PLANET: NATURAL SELECTION

Pacifica Archipelago began an Even Phase sometime in the early 2180s, and this is still occurring. Some Incorporate scientists claim that declining populations of certain marine life are not due to environmental contaminants but due to this, and similar, cycles.

POSEIDON NIÑO EFFECT

This effect is quite similar to the El Niño/La Niña effect of Earth, but further reaching. The warm eastern waters of the Pacifica Archipelago create a rising stream of warm air. This creates a tradewind, blowing at high altitudes eastward. Around Darwin's Archipelago and the Endeavor Islands, the system cools and drops, creating high-pressure systems. This is typically referred to as the Haven Tradewind.

Another tradewind runs along the Challenger Deep, fueled by rising air systems to the east of the Endeavor Islands, running east to the Pacifica Archipelago, and then dropping. The high pressure caused creates strong westward surface winds. This wind is called the Pacifica Tradewind.

Rising warm air near the region where they descend can disrupt tradewinds. This slows the surface winds and increases rainfall in these regions. Both of these effects slow or halt upwelling, and can even create downflows.

The Reach Obstruction, the El Niño effect for the Reach tradewinds, generally starts at the beginning of the northern autumn. Shifting air systems can create slow-moving warm airmasses above the Arc of Fire. Many of these systems divert northeast or southeast, causing increases of rainfall and slowing surface winds. This brings an early end to the dry season for both the Pacifica Archipelago and Darwin's Archipelago, and brings an uncharacteristically heavy wet season to the western side of Darwin's Archipelago. Unfortunately, this also causes the upwelling west of Darwin's Archipelago to lose steam.

The same system causes warm airmasses to form east of Darwin's Archipelago, which drift northward. These interfere with Endeavor's upwelling system, and further contribute to the faltering of the Reach tradewinds, with similar effects on the western coast of the Endeavor Islands.

The six recorded instances of the Reach Obstruction are 2177-2178, 2184-2185, 2186-2187, 2188-2189, 2194-2195, 2196-2197. Observations made previous to 2176 are somewhat speculative, but the frequency is reliably one year in four. Cyclical variations in Reach Obstructions are likely, but have not been documented.

The Pacifica Obstruction is the corresponding effect for the Pacifica tradewinds, though it is rare. During the dry season, an interaction between southern anticyclonic systems and weak southern aridity systems can lead to countercurrents, causing waters to stall west of the Pacifica Archipelago. Warm patches then form in the eastern edges of the Challenger Deep, disrupting tradewinds. The mechanism is somewhat complex, but the ultimate result is to bring an El Niño event to the Pacifica Archipelago. This brings rainfall during the normally dry season, but the western waters become very poor in nutrients.

This event is more rare than the Reach Obstruction, and only two have been conclusively observed. The first was in 2183 and the second in 2190.

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