Biological Project

Understanding large-scale variations in biological productivity

Satellite observations have provided a global view of primary productivity occurring in the near-surface layer of the ocean.  The results show both recurring seasonal variations and anomalous inter-annual variations.  Both physical and biological processes influence this variability.  One of our goals is to combine the information on the physical environment obtained from data assimilative ocean models with representations of the important biological processes to model the observed variability in primary productivity and then dissect the results to better understand the factors controlling this variability.

August horizontal distribution of the surface chlorophyll "a" concentration (mg Chl m-3) in the North Atlantic: a) the model solution obtained with constant biological parameters; b) the model solution obtained with spatially variable biological parameters; and c) SeaWiFS data for the month of August averaged over 1997-2003.