Wednesday, 12 January 2005: 2:00 PM
Satellite observations of coastal sea surface temperature in the South Atlantic Bight: A case study of summer 2003 cold water event
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) measurements of sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean color onboard of Terra and Aqua satellites provide important data for coastal studies. Compared with historical measurements, the MODIS data have a better accuracy and a more complete daily coverage, which is suitable for coastal monitoring. 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 anomalous cold SST event is generated by coastal upwelling that breaks the buoyancy barrier of the summer heating. The lifting of sub-thermocline water to the ocean surface is forced by the extraordinarily strong and persistent southwesterlies in summer 2003. In comparison, coastal upwelling also occurs in a climatological summer forced by the climatological southerlies over the South Atlantic Bight area. However, the strong buoyancy resistance in summer prevents the cold water below the thermocline from reaching the ocean surface. 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. The GES DAAC provides service to end users over a wide spectra, from data mining to data subsetting and to data analysis.