Seasonal Trends of Biophysical Ocean Properties and Anomalies Across the Mississippi Shelf

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Marine Science


Ocean Science and Engineering


© 2018 SPIE. The seasonal cycle in surface biological, optical and physical properties across the river dominated Mississippi (MS) Shelf changed during years 2015 to 2017 at different locations across the shelf. VIIRS satellite and ocean model products were used to monitor cycles for different properties of both the nowcast and anomalous water properties. MS Shelf water properties vary spatially between offshore waters and coastal MS Sound waters, as well as temporally throughout the year. Ten selected regions spanning east to west from the MS Sound to the shelf break characterized the cross shelf seasonal fluctuations in satellite-derived chlorophyll-a, backscattering, euphotic depth, sea surface temperature, and modeled salinity currents. The seasonal relationships between physical and bio-optical properties were determined for different regions across the shelf and the seasonal eastward movement of the MS river plume across the shelf was identified in June. Yearly MS Sound seasonal cycles of coastal bio-physical properties are different from the shelf regions' offshore seasonal cycles and indicate a time-lag between the bio-optical responses to the physical properties. Bio-optical and physical results on the shelf indicated seasonal movements of the MS River plume locations. Results show the seasonal bio-physical response of the shelf waters which can be used to address and understand the timing of data collection and how ocean events are influenced by the natural seasonal cycle interactions between biological and physical properties. The seasonal cycle study will enable the ability to monitor the shelf water quality and to identify non-typical conditions and the impact of an event on the cycle. Correlations between the monthly seasonal cycle of bio-optical and physical properties such as salinity, ocean color, chlorophyll-a and particle scattering were not consistent over the shelf. Seasonal cycles of salinity and chlorophyll-a show improved correlation if chlorophyll-a is delayed one month from the salinity at offshore locations on the shelf. Results of the seasonal trends support how data collected at a single image location on the shelf during a certain month can be different from other seasons. The seasonal cycle of the dynamic anomaly properties (DAP) of bio-physical properties were determined to show how seasonal abnormal changes and trends at locations across the shelf can provide a method for seasonal adaptive sampling. The yearly differences in monthly cycles from 2015 to 2017 at shelf locations, identified elevated chlorophyll-a in several months of 2016 and yearly temperature differences in multiple areas. The seasonal cycle of Euphotic depth, solar UV light penetration, showed a maximum peak (deeper Euphotic depth) at certain shelf locations during the months of September and October and minimal penetration in Aug of 20152016,2017. This information could be useful to understand months for maximum oil UV degradation in case of an oil spill.

Publication Title

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering



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