Remote sensing and surface POC concentration in the South Atlantic Academic Article uri icon


  • Several SeaWiFS products have been compared with shipboard data to assess the possibility of using remote sensing to estimate particulate organic carbon (POC) concentration in surface waters. Transmissometer data were collected during six South Atlantic Ventilation Experiment (SAVE) hydrographic expeditions conducted between November 1987 and March 1989 from R/V Knorr, and Melville. A total of 361 beam attenuation profiles were made with a SeaTech transmissometer interfaced with a CTD/rosette. In order to calculate the POC concentration from transmissometer profiles, a regression between beam attenuation and POC for open Atlantic Ocean waters derived from our research in the North Atlantic (North Atlantic Bloom Experiment, NABE) and enhanced by data from the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series Station (BATS) was applied. The profiles were processed and examined as vertical sections of the surface 250m. The data were collected in two successive years, during the same season, which allowed us to compile a combined data set over the austral summer for examination. Beam attenuation/POC concentrations were integrated down to one attenuation depth with the intent of making comparisons with satellite optical data. No satellite optical data were available for 1987-1989, so the only option was to compare our integrated data with SeaWiFS-derived variables from later years averaged over the same season as SAVE data. Analysis of four SeaWiFS products acquired from 1997 to 2002 demonstrated very low variations from year to year for seasonally averaged data, suggesting that making comparisons of the beam attenuation/POC fields with averaged satellite optical products from later years is a valid (though not optimal) approach for this area. The highest correlation between beam attenuation/ POC concentration and remotely derived products was found with normalized water-leaving radiance at 555 nm. Other SeaWiFS-derived variables - chlorophyll concentration, diffuse attenuation coefficient at 490 nm and integral chlorophyll (integrated over one attenuation depth) - were also compared but showed a slightly less satisfactory correlation. 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Mishonov, A. V., Gardner, W. D., & Richardson, M. J.

citation count

  • 55

complete list of authors

  • Mishonov, AV||Gardner, WD||Richardson, MJ

publication date

  • January 2003