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Proceedings Paper

Influence of late-summer storms on the horizontal variability of phytoplankton pigment determined by coastal zone color scanner images in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada
Author(s): Cesar Fuentes-Yaco; Alain F. Vezina; Michel Gosselin; Yves Gratton; Pierre Larouche
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Paper Abstract

The western gulf of St. LAwrence (GSL) is characterized by high, persistent phytoplankton production and functions as the principal supplier of phytoplankton biomass for the central and eastern Gulf. The main objective of this study was to report on the evolution of a wind-induced phytoplankton bloom in this region. We used Coastal Zone Color Scanner images taken on 20, 22, 28, and 30 August 1980 to calculate phytoplankton pigment concentration, sea surface temperature and water reflectance fields. We coupled the satellite information with storm track, wind, air temperature, and bright sunshine data. A strong storm blew over the Gulf between 15 and 17 August, triggering upwelling and mixing processes that presumably made high nutrient concentrations available in the euphotic layer. High atmospheric pressure and southwesterly winds between 18 and 25 August allowed air and water temperatures to rise, stabilizing the water column and stimulating phytoplankton growth. A northern storm between 25 and 27 August associated with clear weather and low temperatures between 28 and 30 August, coinciding with the bloom decline. Water-normalized reflectance values suggested that the estuarine region was characterized by diatoms, the western-central GSL by a mixed composition of diatoms/small flagellates/coccolithophorids, and the eastern-central region by coccolithophorids and small flagellates. These blooms may be critical for fish recruitment. Cooling and warming of the water column by meteorological events seem to be intermittent but frequency at this time of year. The resulting nutrient input may support phytoplankton blooms of intensities similar to or higher than those recorded during spring in the western region of the Gulf.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 February 1997
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 2963, Ocean Optics XIII, (6 February 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.266383
Show Author Affiliations
Cesar Fuentes-Yaco, UQAR (Canada)
Alain F. Vezina, Maurice Lamontagne Institute (Canada)
Michel Gosselin, UQAR (Canada)
Yves Gratton, INRS-Oceanologie (Canada)
Pierre Larouche, Maurice Lamontagne Institute (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2963:
Ocean Optics XIII
Steven G. Ackleson; Robert J. Frouin, Editor(s)

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