Marine Science Faculty Publications

The 1982-1984 El Nino in the Gulf of California as Seen in Coastal Zone Color Scanner Imagery

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Using monthly composites of coastal zone colour scanner (CZCS) satellite imagery, the authors generated time series for 33 locations throughout the gulf, calculating pigment concentration anomalies and deriving a relative power index that provides a measure of the relationship between negative anomalies and El Nino episodes. During 1978-1986, variability in phytoplankton biomass in the Gulf of California was not dominated by El Nino events. Rather, strong tidal mixing and upwelling in the interior of the gulf masked the effect of El Nino 1982-1984 that otherwise showed so clearly in other coastal ecosystems of the E Pacific. Lower pigment concentrations were detected with the CZCS at and near the entrance of the gulf, where vertical mixing is not as strong. Locations in the central and northern gulf showed either a weak effect or no effect of El Nino. Strong non-El Nino conditions in 1984 caused lower phytoplankton biomass in Ballenas Channel than during other years of the period analyzed. -from Authors

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Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 99, issue C4, p. 7423-7431