Remote Sens. 2013, 5(8), 4067-4087; doi:10.3390/rs5084067
Article

Unravelling Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific ENSO Contributions in South Pacific Chlorophyll-a Variability through Remote Sensing

1 Department of Environment and Geography, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia 2 Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia 3 Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia Current Address: Centro de Oceanografia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, Lisbon 1749-016, Portugal
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 June 2013; in revised form: 22 July 2013 / Accepted: 5 August 2013 / Published: 13 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Observing the Ocean’s Interior from Satellite Remote Sensing)
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Abstract: El Niño—Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is regarded as the main driver of phytoplankton inter-annual variability. Remotely sensed surface chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), has made it possible to examine phytoplankton variability at a resolution and scale that allows for the investigation of climate signals such as ENSO. We provide empirical evidence of an immediate and lagged influence of ENSO on SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua derived global Chl-a concentrations. We use 13 years of Chl-a remotely sensed observations along with sea surface temperature (SST) observations across the Tropical and South Pacific to isolate and examine the spatial development of Chl-a anomalies during ENSO: its canonical or eastern Pacific (EP) mode, and El Niño Modoki or central Pacific (CP) mode, using the extended empirical orthogonal function (EEOF) technique. We describe how an EP ENSO phase transition affects Chl-a, and identify an interannual CP mode of variability induced spatial pattern. We argue that when ENSO is analysed as a propagating signal by the EEOF, CP ENSO is found to be more influential on Chl-a interannual to decadal variability than the canonical EP ENSO. Our results cannot confirm the independence of the two ENSO modes but clearly demonstrate that both ENSO flavors manifest a distinct biological response.
Keywords: Chl-a; phytoplankton; ENSO; CP ENSO; EP ENSO; Modoki; El Niño; La Niña; primary productivity; SeaWiFS; MODIS

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MDPI and ACS Style

Couto, A.B.; Holbrook, N.J.; Maharaj, A.M. Unravelling Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific ENSO Contributions in South Pacific Chlorophyll-a Variability through Remote Sensing. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 4067-4087.

AMA Style

Couto AB, Holbrook NJ, Maharaj AM. Unravelling Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific ENSO Contributions in South Pacific Chlorophyll-a Variability through Remote Sensing. Remote Sensing. 2013; 5(8):4067-4087.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Couto, André B.; Holbrook, Neil J.; Maharaj, Angela M. 2013. "Unravelling Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific ENSO Contributions in South Pacific Chlorophyll-a Variability through Remote Sensing." Remote Sens. 5, no. 8: 4067-4087.

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