Marine Science Faculty Publications

Surface-Ocean Color and Deep-Ocean Carbon Flux: How Close a Connection?

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Seven years of simultaneous, quasi-continuous data collected by the Nimbus-7 Coastal Zone Color Scanner and by a deep-ocean sediment trap in the Sargasso Sea allow the derivation of empirical relationships between remotely sensed ocean color and the sinking of particulate carbon into the deep sea. In agreement with earlier observations, the results indicate a 1.5-month lag between surface-ocean events observed by the satellite and arrival of a record of those events, carried by sinking particles, at a depth of 3200 m. In addition, the results suggest that the sea-surface area most influential on particle-flux characteristics recorded by the sediment trap in the Sargasso Sea lies to the northeast of the trap's mooring site. The results point towards possible ways of quantifying the role of marine biota in the regulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide through use of satellite observations.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Deep Sea Research Part A, Oceanographic Research Papers, v. 37, issue 8, p. 1331-1343