Remote sensing of coccolithophore blooms in the Western South Atlantic Ocean

C. W. Brownand, Guillermo P Podesta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

High-reflectance patches are regularly observed off the southeastern coast of South America during the late austral spring and summer in visible satellite imagery of the Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS). Unfortunately, coincident in situ samples for identifying their cause are lacking. To ascertain the likelihood that these patches represent surface blooms of the coccolitophore Emiliania huxleyi, their distribution pattern was mapped and their spectral signature evaluated by classifying CZCS imagery with a supervised, multispectral classification scheme that had been developed to detect this phytoplankton species. On the basis of the similarity of these characteristics to those of documented cases, we conclude that the high-reflectance patches observed in surface waters of the shelf and beyond are E. huxleyi blooms. The blooms seasonally occupied an area as large as 550,000 km2. Standing stock estimates indicate that the detected blooms produced an average of 1.5-4.9x105 metric tons of calcite carbon and 4.0x103 t of dimethyl sulfide sulfur. The bloom's production of these climatically relevant compounds and their alteration of optical properties in the surface layer suggest that the blossoms significantly affect the biogeochemistry and ecology of this region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1997

Fingerprint

Emiliania huxleyi
scanners
Atlantic Ocean
reflectance
remote sensing
Coastal zones
Remote sensing
algal bloom
dimethyl sulfide
biogeochemistry
color
optical properties
calcite
CZCS
Biogeochemistry
Color
sulfur
surface water
Satellite imagery
Phytoplankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Remote sensing of coccolithophore blooms in the Western South Atlantic Ocean. / Brownand, C. W.; Podesta, Guillermo P.

In: Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 60, No. 1, 04.1997, p. 83-91.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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