Anomalous Marine Biophysical Conditions Due to 2016 and 2017 Wind and Flooding Events In the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Marine Science


Ocean Science and Engineering


© 2018 SPIE. Ocean observing satellites and models reveal anomalous surface properties associated with the 2016 Bonnet Carré Spillway opening and a 2016 Flower Garden Banks mortality event. Marine bio-optical and physical processes in northeastern Gulf of Mexico are largely driven by river discharge and wind-driven circulation. Satellite observations and regional ocean model output were used to evaluate these processes and their interactions over large spatial areas. Climatology of Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) ocean color imagery and Navy Coastal Ocean Model American Seas (AMSEAS) output for the region were generated to explore temporal variability and detect anomalous events. Here we present the 2016 and 2017 time series of 1.) 8-day 750 m resolution VIIRS observations for chlorophylla, diffuse attenuation coefficient, and euphotic depth; and 2.) 8-day 3 km AMSEAS output for surface temperature, salinity and currents. From these time series, we derive temporal anomalies for each parameter. Results from longer term anomalies show elevated ocean color values across the region following a January 2016 river flooding event, and Bonnet Carré Spillway opening, that persist through summer months. The elevated values are compared with river discharge rates and known events (i.e. July and October 2016 Flower Garden Banks mortality), revealing the impacts of the flooding to the region. Results from shorter term anomalies highlight the stages and migration of specific impacts, such as possible upwelling at Flower Garden Banks (January 2016) observed in currents and chlorophyll-a fields.

Publication Title

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering



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