Are ocean deserts getting larger?



[1] The spatial and temporal dynamics of ocean biomes and their provincial subdivisions are affected by the dynamics of Earth's climate system, but the effect of climate change on the distribution and variability of ocean biomes and provinces is largely unknown. A time-series analysis from multiple satellite platforms shows that the lowest productivity provinces have been growing over the last decade and that the growth rates of these provinces increase as they get larger, and decrease as they get smaller. The most oligotrophic provinces of the ocean grow by reducing the size of the slightly less oligotrophic provinces. As a consequence, while the ocean's most extreme deserts are increasing at an accelerating rate, some oligotrophic areas are simultaneously shrinking. The aggregate area of the oligotrophic provinces oscillated in phase with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index from 1998–2007.