Spring 2006 Update: SST is derived from the Advanced Very-High Resolution Radiometer onboard the Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite (AVHRR-POES) and represents the near-surface ocean temperature, not the temperature of the entire water column.
Daily synoptic views of surface concentrations of chlorophyll a are derived from the Sea-viewing Wide Field of View Sensors (SeaWiFS) ocean color sensor onboard the SeaStar spacecraft. Chlorophyll a is considered to be an index of the amount of phytoplankton biomass present in the water.
Zooplankton biomass is derived from shipboard surveys of the Northeast U.S. Shelf ecosystem - these small animals link the energy produced through primary production to higher trophic levels. From 1977-1987, the MArine Resources Monitoring, Assessment, & Prediction (MARMAP) program conducted intensive surveys from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to Nova Scotia. These efforts continued at a reduced level through the 1990s and are ongoing today. Currently, 30 plankton samples are taken 6 times a year in each of the four ecosystem subareas: Mid-Atlantic Bight, Southern New England, Georges Bank, and Gulf of Maine (resulting in approximately 720 measures of zooplankton biomass annually).