Publications

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2017
Kahru, M, Lee ZP, Mitchell BG.  2017.  Contemporaneous disequilibrium of bio-optical properties in the Southern Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters. 44:2835-2842.   10.1002/2016gl072453   AbstractWebsite

Significant changes in satellite-detected net primary production (NPP, mgCm(-2)d(-1)) were observed in the Southern Ocean during 2011-2016: an increase in the Pacific sector and a decrease in the Atlantic sector. While no clear physical forcing was identified, we hypothesize that the changes in NPP were associated with changes in the phytoplankton community and reflected in the concomitant bio-optical properties. Satellite algorithms for chlorophyll a concentration (Chl a, mgm(-3)) use a combination of estimates of the remote sensing reflectance Rrs() that are statistically fitted to a global reference data set. In any particular region or point in space/time the estimate produced by the global mean algorithm can deviate from the true value. Reflectance anomaly (RA) is supposed to remove the first-order variability in Rrs() associated with Chl a and reveal bio-optical properties that are due to the composition of phytoplankton and associated materials. Time series of RA showed variability at multiple scales, including the life span of the sensor, multiyear and annual. Models of plankton functional types using estimated Chl a as input cannot be expected to correctly resolve regional and seasonal anomalies due to biases in the Chl a estimate that they are based on. While a statistical model using RA() time series can predict the times series of NPP with high accuracy (R-2=0.82) in both Pacific and Atlantic regions, the underlying mechanisms in terms of phytoplankton groups and the associated materials remain elusive.

2015
Kahru, M, Jacox MG, Lee Z, Kudela RM, Manzano-Sarabia M, Mitchell BG.  2015.  Optimized multi-satellite merger of primary production estimates in the California Current using inherent optical properties. Journal of Marine Systems. 147:94-102.   10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.06.003   AbstractWebsite

Building a multi-decadal time series of large-scale estimates of net primary production (NPP) requires merging data from multiple ocean color satellites. The primary product of ocean color sensors is spectral remote sensing reflectance (Rrs). We found significant differences (13-18% median absolute percent error) between Rrs estimates at 443 nm of different satellite sensors. These differences in Rrs are transferred to inherent optical properties and further on to estimates of NPP. We estimated NPP for the California Current region from three ocean color sensors (SeaWiFS, MODIS-Aqua and MERIS) using a regionally optimized absorption based primary production model (Aph-PP) of Lee et al. (2011). Optimization of the Aph-PP model was required for each individual satellite sensor in order to make NPP estimates from different sensors compatible with each other. While the concept of Aph-PP has advantages over traditional chlorophyll-based NPP models, in practical application even the optimized Aph-PP model explained less than 60% of the total variance in NPP which is similar to other NPP algorithms. Uncertainties in satellite Rrs estimates as well as uncertainties in parameters representing phytoplankton depth distribution and physiology are likely to be limiting our current capability to accurately estimate NPP from space. Introducing a generic vertical profile for phytoplankton improved slightly the skill of the Aph-PP model. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

2012
Kahru, M, Kudela RM, Manzano-Sarabia M, Mitchell BG.  2012.  Trends in the surface chlorophyll of the California Current: Merging data from multiple ocean color satellites. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 77-80:89-98. Abstract

Standard remote sensing reflectance products from four ocean color sensors (OCTS, SeaWiFS, MODISA, MERIS) and over 10,000 in situ measurements of surface chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration in the California Current were used to create empirical algorithms that are consistent with in situ data as well as between individual sensors. Using these algorithms, a merged multi-sensor time series of the surface Chl-a concentration in California Current region was created. The merged Oil-a time series (November 1996-December 2011) show a significant (P < 0.01) increasing trend off central California and significant (P < 0.01) decreasing trends in the central North Pacific gyre and off southern Baja California. Although this 15-year time series is too short to separate interannual and multidecadal cycles from climate trends, both of these trends are consistent with the predicted effects of global warming. The expected increase in vertical stratification of the water column and the resulting decreased vertical flux of nutrients would lead to lower Chl-a in the gyre but the increased upwelling-favorable winds leading to stronger upwelling off central California or the increased nitrate content of the upwelled water would lead to higher Chl-a in the upwelling region. The decreased Chl-a off southern Baja California resembles the effect of a decreased influence of strong El Nino events. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

2006
Murakami, H, Sasaoka K, Hosoda K, Fukushima H, Toratani M, Frouin R, Mitchell BG, Kahru M, Deschamps PY, Clark D, Flora S, Kishino M, Saitoh S, Asanuma I, Tanaka A, Sasaki H, Yokouchi K, Kiyomoto Y, Saito H, Dupouy C, Siripong A, Matsumura S, Ishizaka J.  2006.  Validation of ADEOS-II GLI ocean color products using in-situ observations. Journal of Oceanography. 62:373-393.   10.1007/s10872-006-0062-6   AbstractWebsite

The Global Imager (GLI) aboard the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite-II (ADEOS-II) made global observations from 2 April 2003 to 24 October 2003. In cooperation with several institutes and scientists, we obtained quality controlled match-ups between GLI products and in-situ data, 116 for chlorophyll-a concentration (CHLA), 249 for normalized water-leaving radiance (nLw) at 443 nm, and 201 for aerosol optical thickness at 865 nm (Tau_865) and Angstrom exponent between 520 and 865 nm (Angstrom). We evaluated the GLI ocean color products and investigated the causes of errors using the match-ups. The median absolute percentage differences (MedPD) between GLI and in-situ data were 14.1-35.7% for nLws at 380-565 nm 52.5-74.8% nLws at 625-680 nm, 47.6% for Tau_865, 46.2% for Angstrom, and 46.6% for CHLA, values that are comparable to the ocean-color products of other sensors. We found that some errors in GLI products are correlated with observational conditions; nLw values were underestimated when nLw at 680 nm was high, CHLA was underestimated in absorptive aerosol conditions, and Tau_865 was overestimated in sunglint regions. The error correlations indicate that we need to improve the retrievals of the optical properties of absorptive aerosols and seawater and sea surface reflection for further applications, including coastal monitoring and the combined use of products from multiple sensors.