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Analysis of 23 years of daily cloud-free chlorophyll and suspended particulate matter in the greater North Sea
Alvera-Azcárate, A.; Van der Zande, D.; Barth, A.; Troupin, C.; Martin, S.; Beckers, J.-M. (2021). Analysis of 23 years of daily cloud-free chlorophyll and suspended particulate matter in the greater North Sea. Front. Mar. Sci. 8: 707632.
In: Frontiers in Marine Science. Frontiers Media: Lausanne. e-ISSN 2296-7745, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    spring bloom phenology; remote sensing; ocean color; chlorophyll; suspended particle matter; North Sea; DINEOF

Authors  Top 
  • Alvera-Azcárate, A., more
  • Van der Zande, D., more
  • Barth, A., more

    Satellite-derived estimates of ocean color variables are available for several decades now and allow performing studies of the long-term changes occurred in an ecosystem. A daily, gap-free analysis of chlorophyll (CHL) and suspended particulate matter (SPM, indicative of light availability in the subsurface) at 1 km resolution over the Greater North Sea during the period 1998–2020 is presented. Interannual changes are described, with maximum average CHL values increasing during the period 1998–2008, a slightly decreasing trend in 2009–2017 and an stagnation in recent years. The typical spring bloom is observed to happen earlier each year, with about 1 month difference between 1998 and 2020. The duration of the bloom (time between onset and offset) appears also to be increasing with time, but the average CHL value during the spring bloom does not show a clear trend. The causes for earlier spring blooms are still unclear, although a rising water temperature can partially explain them through enhanced phytoplankton cell division rates or through increased water column stratification. SPM values during winter months (prior to the development of the spring bloom) do not exhibit a clear trend over the same period, although slightly higher SPM values are observed in recent years. The influence of sea surface temperature in the spring bloom timing appears to be dominant over the influence of SPM concentration, according to our results. The number of satellites available over the years for producing CHL and SPM in this work has an influence in the total amount of available data before interpolation. The amount of missing data has an influence in the total variability that is retained in the final dataset, and our results suggest that at least three satellites would be needed for a good representation of ocean color variability.

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