Spatial and temporal statistics of sea surface temperature and chlorophyll fronts in the California Current

Kahru, M, Di Lorenzo E, Manzano-Sarabia M, Mitchell BG.  2012.  Spatial and temporal statistics of sea surface temperature and chlorophyll fronts in the California Current. Journal of Plankton Research. 34:749-760.

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A-Front, Algorithms, baltic sea, california current, chlorophyll, current system, distributions, fronts, imagery, ocean color, phytoplankton, remote sensing, satellite-derived chlorophyll, sea surface temperature, seawifs, summer, variability


The statistics of sea-surface fronts detected with the automated histogram method were studied in the California Current using sea-surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll-a concentration (Chl) images from various satellite sensors. Daily maps of fronts were averaged into monthly composites of front frequency (FF) spanning 29 years (19812009) for SST and 14 years (19972010) for Chl. The large-scale distributions of frontal frequency of both SST (FFsst) and of Chl (FFchl) had a 500700 km wide band of elevated values (47) along the coast that roughly coincided with the area of increased mesoscale eddy activity. FFsst and FFchl were positively correlated at monthly and seasonal frequencies, but the year-to-year variations were not significantly correlated. The long-period (1 year and longer) variability in FFsst is influenced by the large-scale SST gradient, while at shorter timescales the influence of the Coastal Upwelling Index is evident. In contrast with FFsst, FFchl variability is less related to the coherent large-scale forcing and has stronger sensitivity to local forcings in individual areas. Decadal-scale increasing trends in the frequency of both SST and Chl fronts were detected in the Ensenada Front area (general area of the A-Front study) and corresponded to, respectively, trends towards colder SST and increasing chlorophyll-a concentration.