Satellite evidence of hurricane-induced phytoplankton blooms in an oceanic desert

TitleSatellite evidence of hurricane-induced phytoplankton blooms in an oceanic desert
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsBabin, SM, Carton, JA, Dickey, TD, Wiggert, JD
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research - Oceans
Date Published2004/03/25
ISBN Number0148-0227
Keywords0315 Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Biosphere/atmosphere interactions, 1640 Global Change: Remote sensing, 4504 Oceanography: Physical: Air/sea interactions

The physical effects of hurricanes include deepening of the mixed layer and decreasing of the sea surface temperature in response to entrainment, curl-induced upwelling, and increased upper ocean cooling. However, the biological effects of hurricanes remain relatively unexplored. In this paper, we examine the passages of 13 hurricanes through the Sargasso Sea region of the North Atlantic during the years 1998 through 2001. Remotely sensed ocean color shows increased concentrations of surface chlorophyll within the cool wakes of the hurricanes, apparently in response to the injection of nutrients and/or biogenic pigments into the oligotrophic surface waters. This increase in post-storm surface chlorophyll concentration usually lasted 2–3 weeks before it returned to its nominal pre-hurricane level.

Short TitleJ. Geophys. Res.