Phytoplankton Blooming Off the U.S. East Coast: A Satellite Description

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Science  12 Jul 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4709, pp. 163-167
DOI: 10.1126/science.229.4709.163


A "bloom" of near-surface phytoplankton occurs in the Atlantic Slope region of the western Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. East Coast in the spring. Satellite time series of sea-surface temperature and phytoplankton pigment concentration, derived from measurements of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA-7 Advanced Very-High-Resolution Radiometer and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Nimbus-7 Coastal Zone Color Scanner, respectively, give information on the spatial extent and temporal development of such a bloom for a 28-day period in April through May 1982. The phytoplankton concentration of the slope area is comparable to that of the Atlantic Shelf. Total primary productivity of the slope during this period is equivalent to that of the shelf. The primary productivity within a warm-core ring and in the Gulf Stream system is less by a factor of 2.