Monthly satellite-derived phytoplankton pigment distribution for the North Atlantic Ocean basin



Surface phytoplankton distributions have been derived from Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) with an accuracy of from 35% in open oceans to within a factor of 2 generally [Gordon et al., 1983; Brown et al., 1985]. The remotely sensed pigment fields have been used to quantify spatial and temporal variability of plankton biomass on scales of days [McClain et al., 1984, 1986; Walsh et al., 1986] to years [Feldman, 1986; Abbott and Zion, 1985; Banse and McClain, 1986; Barale et al., 1986; D. K. Clark, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NOAA/NESDIS), Suitland, Md.; personal communication]. Efforts to relate these fields to areal primary productivity [Eppley, 1985; Piatt, 1986] are very promising. These findings form the basis of current plans to investigate the carbon flux within the oceans on a global scale over the next decade (see the article “The Global Ocean Flux Study (GOFS): Status of the U.S. GOFS Program” by P. Brewer et al., this issue), as well as a multitude of regional process-oriented field studies.