Remote sensing of the Northwest African upwelling and its production dynamics


Carbon export; SeaWiFS; variability; upwelling; Atlantic Ocean; chlorophyll filament; SeaWiFS; SST. - The North Atlantic off NW Africa is characterized by the trade wind induced upwelling of cold and nutrient rich waters. As one of most strongest eastern boundary upwelling areas it is marked by low sea surface temperature and high bio-production, both subject to strong seasonal and interannual variations.Satellite measurements of sea surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) in the upper water-column were used to (a) recognize the upwelling of deep water and its distribution and mixing in the surface, (b) identify the development of phytoplankton blooms and (c) provide further insights in the characteristics of its variations.Measurements of surface Chl-a were compared to deep-sea fluxes of organic carbon in order to determine the relationship between both parameters and to further calculate the export of Corg and the export variation strength.The off-shore extension of SST-defined upwelling from 1988 through 1999 between 18ʿ and 25ʿN shows maxima in January and May/June with an average area of 140,000 km2 (standard deviation of 20,000 km2). Minima in August exhibit an extension of 43,000 km2 (15,000 km2 standard deviation). A correlation between ...
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