Marine Science Faculty Publications

Rivers in the Sea: Can We Quantify Pigments in the Amazon and the Orinoco River Plumes from Space?

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Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) images of the western tropical Atlantic (1979-1982) were combined into monthly mean surface pigment fields. These suggest that Amazon River water flows along northeastern South America directly toward the Caribbean sea early in the year. After June, however, the North Brazil Current is shunted eastward, carrying a large fraction of Amazon water into the North Equatorial Countercurrent (NECC). This eastward flow causes diminished flow through the Caribbean, which permits northwestward dispersal of Orinoco River water due to local Ekman forcing. The Orinoco plume crosses the Caribbean, leading to seasonal variation in surface salinity near Puerto Rico. At least 50% of the pigment concentration estimated in these plumes seems due to viable phytoplankton.

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Digest - International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), v. 1, p. 339-342

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