Strutton, P. G. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, stpe@mbari.org
Chavez, F. G. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, chfr@mbari.org
McPhaden, M. J. NOAA/PMEL, mcphaden@pmel.noaa.gov

 
REMOTE SENSING OF BIOLOGICAL-PHYSICAL COUPLING IN THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC
 
SeaWiFS was launched during the mature phase of the 1997-98 El Nino, when chlorophyll concentrations derived from cruises in the central equatorial Pacific were amongst the lowest ever measured for that region. During 1998, rapid cooling occurred, inducing an equally rapid recovery of the phytoplankton community. Intense biological-physical coupling was observed associated with the transition from warm to cool conditions, as Tropical Instability Waves (TIWs) propagated across the equatorial Pacific. The passage of these TIWs, and their effect on the spatio-temporal distributions of chlorophyll and temperature was well documented by SeaWiFS and the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) array, including bio-optical instruments maintained by MBARI. In addition to providing spatial and temporal data at a resolution not previously possible, the combination of satellite, mooring and cruise measurements permitted accurate quantification of ocean color algorithm performance. Here we present SeaWiFS images and data, mooring time series, in situ chlorophyll measurements and bio-optical profile data to describe the fluctuations in phytoplankton biomass and productivity associated with the 1997-98 transition from warm to cool conditions in the Equatorial Pacific. We describe the physical forcing responsible for the observed biological dynamics, and evaluate the performance of some contemporary ocean color algorithms for the region.
 
Day: Tuesday, Feb. 2
Time: Poster
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS43TU0522S