Tuesday, 11 January 2005
Observations of coastal upwelling off the coast of the South Atlantic Bight in summer of 2003: An application of NASA’s remote sensing data to coastal studies
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments onboard of Terra and Aqua satellites provide, for the first time, concurrent measurements of sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean color, which are suitable for coastal upwelling studies. The accuracy, the 1-km spatial resolution, and the almost complete daily coverage of the MODIS data compared with historical measurements make it advantageous for resolving important coastal fronts of chlorophyll concentration and temperature. The cold SST anomaly during summer 2003 off the coast of the South Atlantic Bight is an event that is comprehensively covered by NASA’s MODIS and SeaWinds satellite observations. These data combined with in situ tide gauge, mooring, and ship measurements can be used to identify important dynamics responsible for the anomalous cold water event. The analysis of the data suggests that coastal upwelling occurs in the climatological summer forced by the climatological southerlies over the South Atlantic Bight area in summer. However, the strong buoyancy barrier in summer prevents the cold water below the thermocline from reaching the ocean surface. In summer 2003, the southwesterlies in July through August were extraordinarily strong and persistent, which generated the upwelling currents strong enough to overcome the buoyancy resistance. The results of this analysis demonstrate the possibility of monitoring and forecasting the event using combination of the satellite and in situ observations. The MODIS data are archived and distributed by the NASA’s Goddard Earth Science (GES) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC). The data can be accessed via the URL http://www.daac.gsfc.nasa.gov/MODIS.