|The colour of the Coral Sea |
Conference: 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (CAIRNS, AU, 2012-07-09)
Ref HAL: hal-00746470_v1
Exporter : BibTex | endNote
Satellite and in situ chlorophyll concentration data collected as part of VALidation HYperspectral of a BIOgeochemical model (ValHyBio), a PNTS-sponsored project dedicated to satellite ocean-colour imaging of the Southwest Pacific, are analyzed to describe chlorophyll variability in the Coral Sea, a vast oligotrophic region characterized by a deep chlorophyll maximum and blue waters of high transparency. Average chlorophyll concentrations estimated from MODIS-Aqua are very low (<0.2 mg m-3) except in the vicinity of main islands and coral reefs, where enrichment may occur due to upwelling or internal waves that bring nutrients to the euphotic zone from the deep part of the water column. During the summer season, blooms of cyanobacteria (Trichodesmium) develop in the surface waters and may form large slicks. The nitrogen fixed by these slicks is a potential source of new nitrogen later assimilated by picoplankton and the marine food chain. Coastal areas exhibit higher chlorophyll concentrations because of nutrient input from the land, as observed in 2008 around New Caledonia. In lagoon areas, the sea colour is influenced by turbidity and bathymetry, and the MODIS OC3 algorithm is inadequate, with a systematic overestimation of chlorophyll concentration in the New Caledonia lagoon. Improved bio-optical algorithms are needed for those turbid and shallow waters, to allow not only a better description of chlorophyll variability, but also evaluation of chlorophyll simulations by recently developed biogeochemical models.