Comparison of Seasonal Cycles of Phytoplankton Chlorophyll, Aerosols, Winds and Sea-Surface Temperature off Somalia

Shafeeque, M, Sathyendranath, S, George, G, Balchand, AN and Platt, T 2017 Comparison of Seasonal Cycles of Phytoplankton Chlorophyll, Aerosols, Winds and Sea-Surface Temperature off Somalia. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4.

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In climate research, an important task is to characterize the relationships between Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). Here, satellite-derived data sets have been used to examine the seasonal cycle of phytoplankton (chlorophyll concentration) in the waters off Somalia, and its relationship to aerosols, winds and Sea Surface Temperature (SST). Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration, Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT), Ångström Exponent (AE), Dust Optical Thickness (DOT), SST and sea-surface wind data for a 16-year period were assembled from various sources. The data were used to explore whether there is evidence to show that dust aerosols enhance Chl-a concentration in the study area. The Cross Correlation Function (CCF) showed highest positive correlation (r2 = 0.3) in the western Arabian Sea when AOT led Chl-a by 1–2 time steps (here, 1 time step is 8 days). A 2 × 2° box off Somalia was selected for further investigations. The correlations of alongshore wind speed, Ekman Mass Transport (EMT) and SST with Chl-a were higher than that of AOT, for a lag of 8 days. When all four variables were considered together in a multiple linear regression, the increase in r2 associated with the AOT is only about 0.02, a consequence of covariance among AOT, SST, EMT and alongshore wind speed. The AOT data show presence of dust aerosols most frequently during the summer monsoon season (June–September). When the analyses were repeated for the dust aerosol events, the correlations were generally lower, but still significant. Again, the inclusion of DOT in the multiple linear regression increased the correlation coefficient by only 2%, indicating minor enhancement in Chl-a concentration. Interestingly, during summer monsoon season, there is a higher probability of finding more instances of positive changes in Chl-a after one time step, regardless of whether there is dust aerosol or not. On the other hand, during the winter monsoon season (November–December) and rest of the year, the probability of Chl-a enhancement is higher when dust aerosol is present than when it is absent. The phase relationship in the 8-day climatologies of Chl-a and AOT (derived from NASA's SeaWiFS and MODIS-A ocean colour processing chain) showed that AOT led Chl-a for most of the summer monsoon season, except when Chl-a was very high, during which time, Chl-a led AOT. The phase shift in the Chl-a and AOT climatological relationship at the Chl-a peak was not observed when AOT from Aerosol Climate Change Initiative (Aerosol-CCI) was used.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Earth Observation Science and Applications
Depositing User: Kim Hockley
Date made live: 20 Feb 2019 16:14
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 09:59

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