A Global Ocean Carbon Algorithm Database (GOCAD) has been developed from over 500 oceanographic field campaigns conducted worldwide over the past 30 years including in situ reflectances and coincident satellite imagery, multi- and hyperspectral Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM) absorption coefficients from 245–715 nm, CDOM spectral slopes in eight visible and ultraviolet wavebands, dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC and POC, respectively), and inherent optical, physical, and biogeochemical properties. From field optical and radiometric data and satellite measurements, several semi-analytical, empirical, and machine learning algorithms for retrieving global DOC, CDOM, and CDOM slope were developed, optimized for global retrieval, and validated. Global climatologies of satellite-retrieved CDOM absorption coefficient and spectral slope based on the most robust of these algorithms lag seasonal patterns of phytoplankton biomass belying Case 1 assumptions, and track terrestrial runoff on ocean basin scales. Variability in satellite retrievals of CDOM absorption and spectral slope anomalies are tightly coupled to changes in atmospheric and oceanographic conditions associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), strongly covary with the multivariate ENSO index in a large region of the tropical Pacific, and provide insights into the potential evolution and feedbacks related to sea surface dissolved carbon in a warming climate. Further validation of the DOC algorithm developed here is warranted to better characterize its limitations, particularly in mid-ocean gyres and the southern oceans.
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