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Open AccessArticle

High-Frequency Variations in Pearl River Plume Observed by Soil Moisture Active Passive Sea Surface Salinity

1
MNR Key Laboratory for Geo-Environmental Monitoring of Great Bay Area & Guangdong Key Laboratory of Urban Informatics & Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Spatial Smart Sensing and Services, Shenzhen University, No. 3688 Nanhai Avenue, Shenzhen 518060, China
2
College of Life Sciences and Oceanography, Shenzhen University, No. 3688 Nanhai Avenue, Shenzhen 518060, China
3
State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography (LTO), South China Sea Institute of Oceanology (SCSIO), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Guangzhou 510301, China
4
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 563; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030563
Received: 29 November 2019 / Revised: 5 February 2020 / Accepted: 6 February 2020 / Published: 8 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions)
River plumes play an important role in the cross-margin transport of phytoplankton and nutrients, which have profound impacts on coastal ecosystems. Using recently available Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) sea surface salinity (SSS) data and high-resolution ocean color products, this study investigated summertime high-frequency variations in the Pearl River plume of China and its biological response. The SMAP SSS captures the intraseasonal oscillations in the offshore transport of the Pearl River plume well, which has distinct 30–60 day variations from mid-May to late September. The offshore transport of freshwater varies concurrently with southwesterly wind anomalies and is roughly in phase with the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) index in phases 1–5, thus implying that the MJO exerts a significant influence. During MJO phases 1–2, the southwest wind anomalies in the northeastern South China Sea (SCS) enhanced cross-shore Ekman transport, while the northeast wind anomalies during MJO phases 3–5 favored the subsequent southwestward transport of the plume. The high chlorophyll-a concentration coincided well with the low-salinity water variations, emphasizing the important role of the offshore transport of the Pearl River plume in sustaining biological production over the oligotrophic northern SCS. The strong offshore transport of the plume in June 2015 clearly revealed that the proximity of a cyclonic eddy plays a role in the plume’s dispersal pathway. In addition, heavy rainfall related to the landfall of tropical cyclones in the Pearl River Estuary region contributed to the episodic offshore transport of the plume. View Full-Text
Keywords: Soil Moisture Active Passive; sea surface salinity; Pearl River plume; intraseasonal variation; phytoplankton bloom; mesoscale eddy; tropical cyclone Soil Moisture Active Passive; sea surface salinity; Pearl River plume; intraseasonal variation; phytoplankton bloom; mesoscale eddy; tropical cyclone
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Liao, X.; Du, Y.; Wang, T.; Hu, S.; Zhan, H.; Liu, H.; Wu, G. High-Frequency Variations in Pearl River Plume Observed by Soil Moisture Active Passive Sea Surface Salinity. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 563.

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