Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Color Of Ocean Yields Global Warming Clues

Date:
April 26, 2002
Source:
University Of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
A green ocean is a productive ocean; the light from the sun helps the phytoplankton -- tiny ocean plants -- to be productive. This production in turn drives ocean food webs. New research, published in Science on April 26, assesses the color of the ocean and finds that many key ecosystem parameters describing marine food web function are nearly constant across the entire North Atlantic Ocean. The research is also expected to yield clues about the carbon cycle and global warming.

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– A green ocean is a productive ocean; the light from the sun helps the phytoplankton -- tiny ocean plants -- to be productive. This production in turn drives ocean food webs. New research, published in Science on April 26, assesses the color of the ocean and finds that many key ecosystem parameters describing marine food web function are nearly constant across the entire North Atlantic Ocean. The research is also expected to yield clues about the carbon cycle and global warming.

Related Articles


David Siegel, professor of geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and first author on the paper, analyzed satellite ocean color data from the ‘Sea-viewing Wide Field of view Sensor’ called "Sea WiFS" to address the factors regulating the spring bloom of phytoplankton in the North Atlantic Ocean.

"When viewed from space, the North Atlantic spring bloom is among the largest mass greenings observed on the Earth surface extending over scales of more than 2000 kilometers," states the article. The blooming propagates to the north at speeds of 20 kilometers per day, leaving a green wake in its path.

"The productivity of the ocean is well established," said Siegel. "What we don’t know is how it gets recycled, how the food chain works. We’re trying to get at these loss processes, which will tell us how the ocean’s biological pump works."

The biological pump is the mechanism by which carbon dioxide is exported from the surface ocean into the deep ocean via sinking particles. It is a critical factor in the carbon cycle and global warming.

The satellite data showed light flux and greenness or chlorophyll. From this information Siegel and colleagues were able to deduce the conditions required to start a "spring bloom."

The data also showed that the partitioning of ecosystem function is constant. "It shows the resilience of open ocean communities," said Siegel, "and that simple models may indeed work."

Previously this research on spring blooms was done at sea with microscopes and other tools. But with the satellite, Siegel was able to evaluate the process using tens of thousands of data points.

"This opens the door to using satellite measurements to study grazing and respiration," said Siegel. "These important loss processes have not yet been well characterized."

Jim Yoder, a co-author of the report, and currently division director of ocean sciences at the National Science Foundation, commented, "We used satellite and other data to observe the start of the phytoplankton growth period (bloom) in the North Atlantic ocean. We were able to confirm that a simple model developed many years ago, based on observations in coastal waters can be used to explain the timing of the spring growth period in the entire North Atlantic. We also quantified the role that plankton animals and bacteria play in determining the timing of the phytoplankton bloom and its duration."

The work was funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Santa Barbara. "Color Of Ocean Yields Global Warming Clues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020426074241.htm>.
University Of California - Santa Barbara. (2002, April 26). Color Of Ocean Yields Global Warming Clues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020426074241.htm
University Of California - Santa Barbara. "Color Of Ocean Yields Global Warming Clues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020426074241.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins