From silk to satellite: Half a century of ocean colour anomalies in the Northeast Atlantic

Dionysios E. Raitsos, Yaswant Pradhan, Sam Lavender, Ibrahim Hoteit, Abigail L. McQuatters-Gollop, Philip Chris Reid, Anthony J. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Changes in phytoplankton dynamics influence marine biogeochemical cycles, climate processes, and food webs, with substantial social and economic consequences. Large-scale estimation of phytoplankton biomass was possible via ocean colour measurements from two remote sensing satellites - the Coastal Zone Colour Scanner (CZCS, 1979-1986) and the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS, 1998-2010). Due to the large gap between the two satellite eras and differences in sensor characteristics, comparison of the absolute values retrieved from the two instruments remains challenging. Using a unique in situ ocean colour dataset that spans more than half a century, the two satellite-derived chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) eras are linked to assess concurrent changes in phytoplankton variability and bloom timing over the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and North Sea. Results from this unique re-analysis reflect a clear increasing pattern of Chl-a, a merging of the two seasonal phytoplankton blooms producing a longer growing season and higher seasonal biomass, since the mid-1980s. The broader climate plays a key role in Chl-a variability as the ocean colour anomalies parallel the oscillations of the Northern Hemisphere Temperature (NHT) since 1948. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2117-2123
Number of pages7
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume20
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 23 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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