Unravelling eastern Pacific and central Pacific ENSO contributions in South Pacific chlorophyll-a variability through remote sensing

André B. Couto, Neil J. Holbrook, Angela M. Maharaj*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4067-4087
Number of pages21
JournalRemote Sensing
Volume5
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Chl-a
  • CP ENSO
  • El Niño
  • ENSO
  • EP ENSO
  • La Niña
  • MODIS
  • Modoki
  • Phytoplankton
  • Primary productivity
  • SeaWiFS

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Unravelling eastern Pacific and central Pacific ENSO contributions in South Pacific chlorophyll-a variability through remote sensing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this