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Characterization of mesoscale spatio-temporal patterns and variability of remotely sensed Chl a and SST in the Interior Sea of Chiloe (41.4-43.5° S)

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This study characterizes the spatial and temporal distribution of chlorophyll a (Chl a) and sea surface temperature (SST) in the Interior Sea of Chiloe in Chile at a moderate spatial resolution using SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua time series data from the Goddard Earth Science (GES) Data and Information Services Center (DISC) imported into the GES DISC Interactive Online Visualization and Analysis System ('Giovanni'). The Interior Sea of Chiloe is home to Chile's salmon farming industry, the world's second largest salmonid producer. This study undertakes the characterization of the main patterns of spatial and temporal variability of Chl a and SST in the Interior Sea of Chiloe using a continuous set of time series ocean colour and SST data. Both Chl a and SST exhibit a marked spatial and temporal distribution, with values being significantly higher in the northern area (41.4-42.7° S; total area 41.4-43.5° S) and during the spring-summer period. Peak Chl a concentrations tend to occur in a temporal interval from October to April (austral spring-austral autumn), whereas monthly averaged peak SST values occur consistently in the month of February (austral summer). Chl a concentrations exhibit strong interannual variations, with monthly averaged peak Chl a concentrations experiencing a twofold increase between the year with the lowest and highest Chl a peak concentration in the time series. Results suggest that at the present scale of analysis two spatial domains can be distinguished, regarding the differential behaviour of SST and Chl a in the northern and southern areas of the Interior Sea of Chiloe. The concurrent analysis of Chl a time series data with accumulated rainfall time series data as a proxy of solar radiation, on the other hand, supports previous hypothesis suggesting solar radiation to be a limiting factor for phytoplankton development in the Interior Sea of Chiloe. The role of geomorphological factors on pattern formation and the results presented in this study in relation to results from seasonal oceanographic cruises in the area are briefly discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Escuela de Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad Catolica de Temuco, Temuco, Chile 2: Departamento de Oceanografia, Mariscope, Puerto Montt, Chile

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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