Fall 2009 Update: Spring Chlorophyll Distribution

The progression of spring chlorophyll concentrations for the months of January through June are shown in the left hand set of panels. Higher chlorophyll concentrations appear as warm shades whereas low concentrations appear as cool shades. The right hand set of panels show exceptional anomalies of chlorophyll concentration, those tending to exceed plus or minus one quarter of a standard deviation of the overall concentration for the field. This type of anomaly tends to highlight strong blooms in an area, the green shades, and weak blooms in an area, the brown shades. With the provisional nature of these data, it would be imprudent to make definitive inferences on the intensity of regional bloom activity on the shelf. There appears to be an exceptional phytoplankton bloom in the contiguous region of Massachusetts Bay and Nantucket Shoals. This region often blooms in advance of the other northern subregions of the Northeast Shelf and often with greater intensity. The location of high chlorophyll levels off the shelf during May suggests some portion of shelf productivity is exported from the ecosystem.

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