Related Research Areas
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

Climate change affects the timing and magnitude of numerous environmental conditions, such as temperature, wind, ocean circulation, and precipitation. Amongst other repercussions, such changes in the environment will lead to a response in marine ecosystem productivity manifested by changes in the timing and magnitude of phytoplankton biomass and primary production. The goal of this effort is to test two hypotheses: 1) The timing of phytoplankton bloom onset, maturity, decay and termination in the various oceanic basins has changed over the past decade; and 2) The interannual variability in phytoplankton phenological markers is related to changes in sea-surface temperature, mixed-layer depth and light availability, and is associated with regional climatic indices, such as ENSO and North Atlantic Oscillation. The specific objectives of this study are to: 1) Model the annual cycle of phytoplankton biomass in the world’s oceans from MODIS and SeaWiFS ocean color measurements; 2) Document and analyze the interannual variability and short-term trends of bloom onset, maturity, decay and termination extracted from the fitted models of phytoplankton biomass; and 3) Relate the influence of environmental conditions, such as mixed-layer depth, and climate indices, such as ENSO, to the variability in the annual cycle of phytoplankton biomass using statistical models. In addition to establishing a baseline from which to assess any future changes, the proposed research will describe the timing of phytoplankton biomass and relate these changes to physical oceanic variables and assess if any trends over the past decade are present. This will lead to a better understanding of the critical factors that link climate change to the response of marine ecosystems on a regional and global scale and provide insights on the potential impact on the carbon cycle. This research directly addresses the overarching goals of the Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program by using time series of satellite-derived ocean color measurements and other oceanographic variables to identify and quantify the impacts of climate change on ocean biology on a short- to decadal scales.

Project PI: Christopher Brown/NOAA / NESDIS / ORA

World Weather Building, Suite 701 5200 Auth Road Camp Springs, Maryland 20746




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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Mar 17, 2011


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