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“Ocean weather” in the Gulf of Mexico: Exploiting real-time satellite ecological properties and circulation models for coastal ocean monitoring

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6 Author(s)
Ladner, S. ; QinetiQ North America, Stennis Space Center, MS, USA ; Arnone, R. ; Sandidge, J. ; DongShan Ko
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The fusion of real-time remote sensing imagery with numerical ocean circulation models provides a unique capability for monitoring the coastal ocean. A real-time ocean monitoring system is currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico. Dynamic changes in the ocean environment occur on scales of hours, days, weeks and years, which influence biological, ecological and physical processes. By monitoring these processes at different spatial resolutions, new enhanced capability is available to coastal managers and researchers for making decisions. Monitoring of physical processes and bio-optical responses are currently being done for the Gulf of Mexico. Open ocean eddies and loop current interact with coastal processes such as river plumes and tides and have significant impact on the biological and ecological processes along our shores. Until now we had no capability to routinely monitor these ocean conditions without insitu sensors and observations. Now the ?weather? in the Gulf of Mexico is being monitored daily and provides coastal managers and researchers an edge in tracking or pin-pointing events. This information assists the decision maker in identifying how physical events are influencing the coastal ecosystem. How is this being done? Improved bio-optical algorithms have been developed and applied to ocean color satellite imagery from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) providing estimates of water constituents such as absorption properties from phytoplankton, color dissolved organic matter (CDOM), and detritus and backscattering properties related to sediment concentration. In addition, advances in numerical circulation modeling (Navy Coastal Ocean Model - NCOM) provide nowcasts and forecasts of coastal processes (currents, sea surface height, salinity and temperature). Physical ocean properties of temperature, salinity, and currents from NCOM are combined with daily latest pixel composite products of phytoplankton, CDOM, and detritus absorpt- ion, backscattering and sea surface temperature (SST). We demonstrate an advanced environmental monitoring capability available operationally that highlights the fusion of physical (model) and bio-optical properties (satellite). The entire Gulf conditions are demonstrated daily in addition to higher resolution monitoring of coastal conditions. We will focus on Mississippi and Louisiana Coast using high resolution (250 meter resolution) MODIS imagery. We will demonstrate a capability of supporting coastal manager's and researchers integrating satellite bio-optical products, model circulation (current vectors), sea surface height (contours), salinity (contours) and temperature (contours) layers into Google Earth. In addition, we will demonstrate promising new research using satellite optics and numerical models to create surface optical forecast (hourly increments up to 48 hours) and a 3-D optical volume of the ocean derived from a physical (model) / optical (satellite) Gaussian relationship optimized using insitu profiles. By using these methods of fusing the satellite and ocean circulation model it will provide coastal zone managers with a new capability to assess, predict and track Harmful Algal Blooms, Hypoxia, and sediment discharge.

Published in:

OCEANS 2009, MTS/IEEE Biloxi - Marine Technology for Our Future: Global and Local Challenges

Date of Conference:

26-29 Oct. 2009