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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Primary Production, an Index of Climate Change in the Ocean: Satellite-Based Estimates over Two Decades

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Earth Observation Science and Applications, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
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Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
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Marine Optics and Remote Sensing Lab, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villifranche, B.P. 8, Quai de la Darse, 06238 Villefranche-sur-Mer CEDEX, France
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College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Peter Lanyon Building, Treliever Road, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK
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Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney, P.O. Box 123 Broadway, Sydney, NSW 2007, Australia
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Institut de Ciències der Mar, CSIC, Pg. Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
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Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas, CSIC, Eduardo Cabello 6, 36208 Vigo, Spain
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Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan
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Area of Biodiversity and Conservation, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Tulipán, E-28933 Madrid, Spain
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Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Skúlagata 4, Reykjavík 101, Iceland
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State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Coastal Ecology and Environmental Studies, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
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Akkeshi Marine Station, Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University, Aikkapu 1, Akkeshi, Hokkaido 088-1113, Japan
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Faculty of Science, University of Split, Rudera Boškovića 33, 21000 Split, Croatia
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Instituto Nacional de Investigacion y Desarrollo Pesquero, Paseo Victoria Ocampo 1, Escollera Norte, Mar del Plata B7602HSA, Argentina
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Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, Universidade de Vigo, Campus As Lagoas-Marcosende, 36310 Vigo (Pontevedra), Spain
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Space Application Center, ISRO, Jodhpur Tekra, Ambawadi Vistar P.O., Ahmedabad 380015, India
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Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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Department of Ocean Ecosystems, Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands
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CNRS and Sorbonne Université, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche, 181 Chemin du Lazaret, 06230 Villefranche-sur-mer, France
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Oceanography and Shelf Processes Research, Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB3, Townsville MC, Townsville 4810, Australia
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National Centre for Earth Observation, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(5), 826; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12050826
Received: 30 December 2019 / Revised: 13 February 2020 / Accepted: 17 February 2020 / Published: 3 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper Special Issue on Ocean Remote Sensing)
Primary production by marine phytoplankton is one of the largest fluxes of carbon on our planet. In the past few decades, considerable progress has been made in estimating global primary production at high spatial and temporal scales by combining in situ measurements of primary production with remote-sensing observations of phytoplankton biomass. One of the major challenges in this approach lies in the assignment of the appropriate model parameters that define the photosynthetic response of phytoplankton to the light field. In the present study, a global database of in situ measurements of photosynthesis versus irradiance (P-I) parameters and a 20-year record of climate quality satellite observations were used to assess global primary production and its variability with seasons and locations as well as between years. In addition, the sensitivity of the computed primary production to potential changes in the photosynthetic response of phytoplankton cells under changing environmental conditions was investigated. Global annual primary production varied from 38.8 to 42.1 Gt C yr 1 over the period of 1998–2018. Inter-annual changes in global primary production did not follow a linear trend, and regional differences in the magnitude and direction of change in primary production were observed. Trends in primary production followed directly from changes in chlorophyll-a and were related to changes in the physico-chemical conditions of the water column due to inter-annual and multidecadal climate oscillations. Moreover, the sensitivity analysis in which P-I parameters were adjusted by ±1 standard deviation showed the importance of accurately assigning photosynthetic parameters in global and regional calculations of primary production. The assimilation number of the P-I curve showed strong relationships with environmental variables such as temperature and had a practically one-to-one relationship with the magnitude of change in primary production. In the future, such empirical relationships could potentially be used for a more dynamic assignment of photosynthetic rates in the estimation of global primary production. Relationships between the initial slope of the P-I curve and environmental variables were more elusive. View Full-Text
Keywords: primary production; phytoplankton; photosynthesis; ocean-colour remote-sensing; climate change primary production; phytoplankton; photosynthesis; ocean-colour remote-sensing; climate change
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Kulk, G.; Platt, T.; Dingle, J.; Jackson, T.; Jönsson, B.F.; Bouman, H.A.; Babin, M.; Brewin, R.J.W.; Doblin, M.; Estrada, M.; Figueiras, F.G.; Furuya, K.; González-Benítez, N.; Gudfinnsson, H.G.; Gudmundsson, K.; Huang, B.; Isada, T.; Kovač, Ž.; Lutz, V.A.; Marañón, E.; Raman, M.; Richardson, K.; Rozema, P.D.; Poll, W.H.; Segura, V.; Tilstone, G.H.; Uitz, J.; Dongen-Vogels, V.; Yoshikawa, T.; Sathyendranath, S. Primary Production, an Index of Climate Change in the Ocean: Satellite-Based Estimates over Two Decades. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 826.

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