Influence of extreme storm events on West Florida Shelf CDOM distributions



[1] Colored Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM) distribution and signatures provide vital information about the amount and composition of organic material in aquatic environments. This information is critical for deciphering the sources and biogeochemical pathways of organic carbon, and thus vital to the understanding of carbon cycling and budgets. Waters of the West Florida Shelf are heavily influenced by many river systems on Florida's Gulf Coast that, to the first order, control CDOM distributions on the shelf. Three storm events during 2004 and 2005 (Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Wilma, and a Winter Storm) profoundly altered the typical distribution of CDOM fluorescence and absorption properties on the Southern West Florida Shelf. Seasonal surveys revealed that changes in the underwater light field as a result of major hurricanes and resuspension events are linked closely with a number of factors prior to a storm's passing such as the presence of persistent blooms, rainfall and discharge. Additionally, storm track and wind direction were found to play a significant role in CDOM signatures.