Relationships between sea surface temperature and nutrients in satellite detected oceanic fronts
Conrad, John Woeppel
Traganza, Eugene D.
Tucker, Stevens P.
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Satellite ER images of the California coast off Point Sur reveal recurrent surface features which appear to be "thermal discontinuities" associated with aperiodic upwelling events. Some of these have associated "chemical fronts" and increased biological activity. Satellite IR imagery was used to locate "discontinuities" and with in situ monitoring the development of these features were studied. Interrelationships between sea surface temperature, nutrients and microplanktonic biomass were investigated. Nutrient rations, satellite imagery, wind stress data and correlations between nutrients and temperature were used to develop an estimate of "age" within a simplified upwelling "life cycle" model. The features range in scale from tens to hundreds of kilometers. The upwelling features exhibited very strong correlations between nutrient and temperature but a third feature had considerable nutrient variability. This suggests a considerable impact from the dynamic and biological process. The technique of coupling satellite imagery and in situ monitoring was found to be a feasible method to provide real time inferences of the nutrient structure associated with an upwelled thermal feature.
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