Marine Science Faculty Publications

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satellite remote sensing, hypoxia, river plume, river plume color index, Louisiana continental shelf

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Satellite-based empirical models explaining hypoxic area and volume variation were developed for the seasonally hypoxic (O2 < 2 mg L−1) northern Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the Mississippi River. Annual variations in midsummer hypoxic area and volume were related to Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer-derived monthly estimates of river plume area (km2) and average, inner shelf chlorophyll a concentration (Chl a, mg m−3). River plume area in June was negatively related with midsummer hypoxic area (km2) and volume (km3), while July inner shelf Chl a was positively related to hypoxic area and volume. Multiple regression models using river plume area and Chl a as independent variables accounted for most of the variability in hypoxic area (R2 = 0.92) or volume (R2 = 0.89). These models explain more variation in hypoxic area than models using Mississippi River nutrient loads as independent variables. The results here also support a hypothesis that confinement of the river plume to the inner shelf is an important mechanism controlling hypoxia area and volume in this region.

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Geophysical Research Letters, v. 43, issue 6, p. 2693-2699

©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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