February 12, 2020 | Published by | ,

Picture: Satellite image of phytoplankton around island by USGS (Unsplash)

The tropical Pacific Ocean is a globally significant region where climate drives the variability of phytoplankton, nutrient availability, and primary productivity. Satellite‐based chlorophyll observations provide the most comprehensive large‐scale estimate of phytoplankton abundance in the upper ocean.

With over two decades of observations available from satellites, it is essential that these satellite measurements are as accurate as possible in order for us to document chlorophyll variability and trends accurately.

In this paper, CLEX researchers evaluate the performance of satellite chlorophyll observations in the tropical Pacific Ocean and suggest algorithm improvements.

Reduced errors in chlorophyll estimates will provide essential insights into critical processes like primary productivity and biologically driven CO2 transport.

At this point in time, no significant long‐term trends have been found for the tropical Pacific Ocean. However, decreased error in our estimates will allow future climate studies to more accurately describe phytoplankton variability in this region.