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Proceedings Paper

Variations on surface temperature and phytoplankton biomass fields after the passage of hurricane Fabián in the western North Atlantic
Author(s): Cesar Fuentes-Yaco; Emmanuel Devred; Shubha Sathyendranath; Trevor Platt
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Paper Abstract

Remote sensing has improved our capacity to study the passage of hurricanes in the coastal zone. These transient events lead to upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich waters into the mixed layer that promotes increased primary production and therefore higher phytoplankton biomass. The Northwest Atlantic, an area with rich fisheries resources, experiences several hurricanes each year. We report on the response of the fields of chlorophyll and temperature to the passage of Hurricane Fabian using satellite images of ocean colour (SeaWiFS, analysed with local modifications to the standard NASA method) and sea-surface temperature (NOAA/AVHRR). Data from a band of 700 km width along the storm track were extracted from composite images of the fields before and after the storm passage. Concurrent changes in the temperature and chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) fields were observed along and across the storm track. There is an imbalance in the distribution of the differences in both SST and Chl-a, with changes being smaller on the left side of the storm path, than on the right side. We also examined changes in the taxonomic composition of phytoplankton communities promoted by the physical forcing, since it is known that diatoms have fast growth rates in relatively turbulent and nutrient-rich waters. This step was carried on using an algorithm that allows to distinguish between diatoms and other phytoplankton populations. Our results showed that after the passage of Hurricane Fabian, a new phytoplankton succession cycle was initiated, led by diatoms.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 August 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5885, Remote Sensing of the Coastal Oceanic Environment, 58850Q (22 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.620092
Show Author Affiliations
Cesar Fuentes-Yaco, Dalhousie Univ. (Canada)
Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Canada)
Emmanuel Devred, Dalhousie Univ. (Canada)
Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Canada)
Shubha Sathyendranath, Dalhousie Univ. (Canada)
Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Canada)
Trevor Platt, Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5885:
Remote Sensing of the Coastal Oceanic Environment
Robert J. Frouin; Marcel Babin; Shubha Sathyendranath, Editor(s)

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