Marine Science Faculty Publications

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bio‐optical properties, gyre, ocean color remote sensing, time series

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With a validated Quasi‐Analytical Algorithm, an 11 year (1998–2008) monthly time series of the primary optical properties of waters in the center of the South Pacific gyre was developed from Sea‐viewing Wide Field‐of‐view Sensor (SeaWiFS) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Also derived are chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentrations with the operational empirical algorithms for SeaWiFS and MODIS. The optical properties include the absorption coefficient (at 443 nm) of phytoplankton (aph) and that of the combination of detritus and gelbstoff (adg). From these time series, we further derived their annual background (summer low) and seasonal intensity (the difference between winter high and summer low). These time series show that (1) the optical properties have different seasonal and interannual variations, indicating different dynamics of these properties in the subtropical gyre; (2) there is a decreasing trend (r2 = 0.24) of the background aph in the 1998–2008 period and an increasing trend of the aph seasonal intensity (r2 = 0.11) for this period, and both trends are not statistically significant; (3) the aph time series agrees with the Chl a time series at the seasonal scale, but differs with respect to interannual variations; and (4) different interannual trends could be inferred with different time frames. These results emphasize that it is difficult to draw unequivocal conclusions about long‐term trends of biogeochemical properties in the oceans with the current relatively short bio‐optical records. To clarify and predict such trends, it is critical to get a full account of the forces that are responsible for the seasonal and interannual variations of these properties.

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Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, v. 115, issue C9, art. C09012

Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.