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Kahru, M, Kudela RM, Anderson CR, Manzano-Sarabia M, Mitchell BG.  2014.  Evaluation of satellite retrievals of ocean chlorophyll-a in the California Current. Remote Sensing. 6:8524-8540.   10.3390/rs6098524   AbstractWebsite

Retrievals of ocean surface chlorophyll-a concentration (Chla) by multiple ocean color satellite sensors (SeaWiFS, MODIS-Terra, MODIS-Aqua, MERIS, VIIRS) using standard algorithms were evaluated in the California Current using a large archive of in situ measurements. Over the full range of in situ Chla, all sensors produced a coefficient of determination (R-2) between 0.79 and 0.88 and a median absolute percent error (MdAPE) between 21% and 27%. However, at in situ Chla > 1 mg m(-3), only products from MERIS (both the ESA produced algal_1 and NASA produced chlor_a) maintained reasonable accuracy (R-2 from 0.74 to 0.52 and MdAPE from 23% to 31%, respectively), while the other sensors had R-2 below 0.5 and MdAPE higher than 36%. We show that the low accuracy at medium and high Chla is caused by the poor retrieval of remote sensing reflectance.

Stramski, D, Reynolds RA, Kahru M, Mitchell BG.  1999.  Estimation of particulate organic carbon in the ocean from satellite remote sensing. Science. 285:239-242.   10.1126/science.285.5425.239   AbstractWebsite

Measurements from the Southern Ocean show that particulate organic carbon (POC) concentration is welt correlated with the optical backscattering by particles suspended in seawater. This relation, in conjunction with retrieval of the backscattering coefficient from remote-sensing reflectance, provides an algorithm for estimating surface POC from Satellite data of ocean color. Satellite imagery from SeaWiFS reveals the seasonal progression of POC, with a zonal band of elevated POC concentrations in December coinciding with the Antarctic Polar Front Zone. At that time, the POC pool within the top 100 meters of the entire Southern Ocean south of 40 degrees S exceeded 0.8 gigatons.

Lee, ZP, Marra J, Perry MJ, Kahru M.  2015.  Estimating oceanic primary productivity from ocean color remote sensing: A strategic assessment. Journal of Marine Systems. 149:50-59.   10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.11.015   AbstractWebsite

It has long been realized that approaches using satellite ocean-color remote sensing are the only feasible means to quantify primary productivity (PP) adequately for the global ocean. Through decades of dedicated efforts and with the help of various satellite ocean-color missions, great progresses have been achieved in obtaining global PP as well as its spatial and temporal variations. However, there still exist wide differences between satellite estimations and in situ measurements, as well as large discrepancies among results from different models. The reasons for these large differences are many, which include uncertainties in measurements, errors in satellite-derived products, and limitations in the modeling approaches. Unlike previous round-robin reports on PP modeling where the performance of specific models was evaluated and compared, here we try to provide a candid overview of three primary modeling strategies and the nature of present satellite ocean-color products. We further highlight aspects where efforts should be focused in the coming years, with the overarching goal of reducing the gaps between satellite modeling and in situ measurements. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Nevison, CD, Keeling RF, Kahru M, Manizza M, Mitchell BG, Cassar N.  2012.  Estimating net community production in the Southern Ocean based on atmospheric potential oxygen and satellite ocean color data. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 26   10.1029/2011gb004040   AbstractWebsite

The seasonal cycle of atmospheric potential oxygen (APO similar to O-2 + 1.1 CO2) reflects three seasonally varying ocean processes: 1) thermal in- and outgassing, 2) mixed layer net community production (NCP) and 3) deep water ventilation. Previous studies have isolated the net biological seasonal signal (i.e., the sum of NCP and ventilation), after using air-sea heat flux data to estimate the thermal signal. In this study, we resolve all three components of the APO seasonal cycle using a methodology in which the ventilation signal is estimated based on atmospheric N2O data, the thermal signal is estimated based on heat flux or atmospheric Ar/N-2 data, and the production signal is inferred as a residual. The isolation of the NCP signal in APO allows for direct comparison to estimates of NCP based on satellite ocean color data, after translating the latter into an atmospheric signal using an atmospheric transport model. When applied to ocean color data using algorithms specially adapted to the Southern Ocean and APO data at three southern monitoring sites, these two independent methods converge on a similar phase and amplitude of the seasonal NCP signal in APO and yield an estimate of annual mean NCP south of 50 degrees S of 0.8-1.2 Pg C/yr, with corresponding annual mean NPP of similar to 3 Pg C/yr and a mean growing season f ratio of similar to 0.33. These results are supported by ocean biogeochemistry model simulations, in which air-sea O-2 and N2O fluxes are resolved into component thermal, ventilation and (for O-2) NCP contributions.

Smith, KL, Ruhl HA, Huffard CL, Messie M, Kahru M.  2018.  Episodic organic carbon fluxes from surface ocean to abyssal depths during long-term monitoring in NE Pacific. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 115:12235-12240.   10.1073/pnas.1814559115   AbstractWebsite

Growing evidence suggests substantial quantities of particulate organic carbon (POC) produced in surface waters reach abyssal depths within days during episodic flux events. A 29-year record of in situ observations was used to examine episodic peaks in POC fluxes and sediment community oxygen consumption (SCOC) at Station M (NE Pacific, 4,000-m depth). From 1989 to 2017, 19% of POC flux at 3,400 m arrived during high-magnitude episodic events (>= mean + 2 sigma), and 43% from 2011 to 2017. From 2011 to 2017, when high-resolution SCOC data were available, time lags between changes in satellite-estimated export flux (EF), POC flux, and SCOC on the sea floor varied between six flux events from 0 to 70 days, suggesting variable remineralization rates and/or particle sinking speeds. Half of POC flux pulse events correlated with prior increases in EF and/or subsequent SCOC increases. Peaks in EF overlying Station M frequently translated to changes in POC flux at abyssal depths. A power-law model (Martin curve) was used to estimate abyssal fluxes from EF and midwater temperature variation. While the background POC flux at 3,400-m depth was described well by the model, the episodic events were significantly underestimated by similar to 80% and total flux by almost 50%. Quantifying episodic pulses of organic carbon into the deep sea is critical in modeling the depth and intensity of POC sequestration and understanding the global carbon cycle.

Kahru, M, Mitchell BG.  1999.  Empirical chlorophyll algorithm and preliminary SeaWiFS validation for the California Current. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 20:3423-3429.   10.1080/014311699211453   AbstractWebsite

A new empirical chlorophyll algorithm is proposed for SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor) and other ocean colour sensors. The CAL-P6 algorithm uses a sixth-order polynomial of the ratio of normalized water leaving radiances (L-WN) at 490 nm and 555 nm and is based on 348 measurements of L-WN,, and chlorophyll-a in the California Current. Validation of the SeaWiFS-derived chlorophyll values with 27 concurrent in situ measurements showed high correlation (r(2) = 0.93 in the log-log space) but significant overestimation by SeaWiFS at high chlorophyll-a concentration. The problem was traced to significant underestimation of the SeaWiFS-derived L-WN,, (490) at high chlorophyll-a concentration (3-5mgm(-3)). Further refinement of the atmospheric correction is needed for SeaWiFS to attain its goal of 35% accuracy for chlorophyll retrieval in the coastal zone.

Kahru, M, Lee ZP, Mitchell BG, Nevison CD.  2016.  Effects of sea ice cover on satellite-detected primary production in the Arctic Ocean. Biology Letters. 12   10.1098/rsbl.2016.0223   AbstractWebsite

The influence of decreasing Arctic sea ice on net primary production (NPP) in the Arctic Ocean has been considered in multiple publications but is not well constrained owing to the potentially large errors in satellite algorithms. In particular, the Arctic Ocean is rich in coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) that interferes in the detection of chlorophyll a concentration of the standard algorithm, which is the primary input to NPP models. We used the quasianalytic algorithm (Lee et al. 2002 Appl. Opti. 41, 575525772. (doi: 10.1364/AO.41.005755)) that separates absorption by phytoplankton from absorption by CDOMand detrital matter. We merged satellite data from multiple satellite sensors and created a 19 year time series (1997-2015) of NPP. During this period, both the estimated annual total and the summer monthly maximum pan-Arctic NPP increased by about 47%. Positive monthly anomalies in NPP are highly correlated with positive anomalies in open water area during the summer months. Following the earlier ice retreat, the start of the high-productivity season has become earlier, e.g. at a mean rate of -3.0 d yr(-1) in the northern Barents Sea, and the length of the high-productivity period has increased from15 days in 1998 to 62 days in 2015. While in some areas, the termination of the productive season has been extended, owing to delayed ice formation, the termination has also become earlier in other areas, likely owing to limited nutrients.

Martinez-Fuentes, LM, Gaxiola-Castro G, Gomez-Ocampo E, Kahru M.  2016.  Effects of interannual events (1997-2012) on the hydrography and phytoplankton biomass of Sebastian Vizcaino Bay. Ciencias Marinas. 42:81-97.   10.7773/cm.v42i2.2626   AbstractWebsite

Sebastian Vizcaino Bay (Baja California Peninsula, Mexico) presents hydrographic conditions and phytoplankton biomass corresponding to a temperate/subtropical transition zone affected by large-scale tropical and subtropical events and those events originating in the subpolar Pacific region. Conditions in the first 50 m depth of the bay are mostly temperate (average temperature: 15.5 degrees C; average salinity: 33.6) and mesotrophic (phytoplankton biomass: >1 mg m(-3)). During spring and summer the bay is heavily influenced by the water transported by the California Current and the coastal upwelling generated off Punta Canoas. During the rest of the year the hydrography and phytoplankton biomass are mostly associated with subtropical conditions. The ENSO events arising in the period 1997-2012 affected the bay's water column. The extreme 1997-1998 El Nino generated increases of similar to 8 degrees C in temperature and similar to 0.8 in salinity. Local dynamic processes decreased the effects of moderate and weak El Nino events on phytoplankton biomass, with possible changes in the plankton functional groups. Due to the mostly temperate environment of the bay, the moderate 1998-2000 and 2010-2011 La Nina events did not generate a substantial change in the hydrography and phytoplankton biomass. However, the abundant subarctic water inflow in the period 2002-2006 abruptly decreased salinity and led to increased stratification of the water column and a reduction in phytoplankton chlorophyll.

Kahru, M, Mitchell BG, Gille ST, Hewes CD, Holm-Hansen O.  2007.  Eddies enhance biological production in the Weddell-Scotia confluence of the southern ocean. Geophysical Research Letters. 34   10.1029/2007gl030430   AbstractWebsite

[1] Satellite data show that oceanic eddies generated in the Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current Front ( SACCF) are associated with increased phytoplankton biomass. Cyclonic eddies with high chlorophyll a concentration ( Chl-a) retain phytoplankton within the eddy cores and increase the light available for photosynthesis in the upper mixed layer by limiting vertical mixing and lifting of the isopycnal surfaces. Anticyclonic eddies have low Chl- a in the core but increased Chl- a in the periphery. Cross- frontal mixing mediated by eddies transports nutrients ( e. g., Fe and Si) to the north and contributes to the increased Chl- a in the frontal zone. Interannual variations in the cyclonic eddy activity are positively correlated with variations in Chl- a during the spring bloom in regions of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current around South Georgia.