Sapiano, MRP; Brown, CW; Uz, SS; Vargas, M (2012). Establishing a global climatology of marine phytoplankton phenological characteristics. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS, 117, C08026.
The timing or phenology of the annual cycle of phytoplankton biomass can be monitored to better understand the underpinnings of the marine ecosystem and assess its response to environmental change. Ten-year, global maps of the mean date of bloom onset, peak concentration and termination of bloom duration were constructed by extracting these phenological metrics from Generalized Linear Models (GLM) fit to time series of 1 degrees x 1 degrees daily estimates of SeaWiFS chlorophyll concentrations dating from September 1997 to December 2007 as well as to MODIS chlorophyll concentrations from July 2002 to July 2010. The fitted models quantitatively define the annual cycle of phytoplankton throughout the global ocean and from which a baseline of phenological characteristics was extracted. The analysis revealed regionally consistent patterns in the shape and timing of the annual cycle of chlorophyll concentration that are broadly consistent with other published studies. The results showed that a single bloom predominates over the global ocean with secondary, autumn blooms being limited in both location and spatial extent. Bloom duration tended to be zonally consistent, but meridionally complex and did not become progressively shorter with increasing latitude as is sometimes depicted. Both the shape of the annual cycle and the phenological climatologies can be used in future studies to detect significant departures over time.