Estimation of Particulate Organic Carbon in the Ocean from Satellite Remote Sensing

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Science  09 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5425, pp. 239-242
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5425.239

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Measurements from the Southern Ocean show that particulate organic carbon (POC) concentration is well correlated with the optical backscattering by particles suspended in seawater. This relation, in conjunction with retrieval of the backscattering coefficient from remote-sensing reflectance, provides an algorithm for estimating surface POC from satellite data of ocean color. Satellite imagery from SeaWiFS reveals the seasonal progression of POC, with a zonal band of elevated POC concentrations in December coinciding with the Antarctic Polar Front Zone. At that time, the POC pool within the top 100 meters of the entire Southern Ocean south of 40°S exceeded 0.8 gigatons.

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