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(extracted from Santos, A. M. P., P.B. Machado and P. Relvas (2009). Applications of satellite remote sensing and GIS to oceanography and fisheries: Case studies in the Western Iberia. Chapter 4 in Geoinformatics for Natural Resource Management, P.K. Joshi, P. Pani, S.N. Mohapartra & T.P. Singh, eds, Nova Science Publisher, New York, USA.)

Satellite Remote Sensing
Although satellite oceanography history is already almost four decades long, a wide variety of improved and innovative sensors have been launched in the last decade on board of satellites. The recognition of the potential of applying satellite RS to oceanography started in the 1960s with Earth photographs taken by the first astronauts. These photographs revealed an amazing amount of details in ocean structures. Figure 1 is an example of the kind of images that can be obtained by astronauts. Although these pictures had created enormous expectations among the scientific community, it is only in the end of the 1970s-beginning of the 1980s with the installation of the AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) (hereafter see Appendix A for acronyms list) on board the second generation of NOAA satellites that remotely-sensed satellite data started to play a major role in oceanography, namely in the determination of sea surface temperature. Since then, AVHRR has been carried on the meteorological satellites of the NOAA series until now, providing regular and continuous operational global observations of SST (Sea Surface Temperature) four times per day using two satellites for almost 30 years. This allow to produce consistent and reliable satellitederived SST time series, namely for assess climate change (Emery et al., 1995; Kilpatrick et al., 2001). AVHRR is planned to continue to flow on future NOAA-EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) missions, namely the MetOp satellites series planned to be operational at least until 2015. The ATSR (Along Track Scanning Radiometer) and AATSR (Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer) are more recent instruments carried by the ESA's satellites (ERS-x and ENVISAT), which the main purpose is to make more accurate measurements of global SST (Stricker et al., 1995; Minnett, 1995a; b; Smith et al., 2001; Merchant et al., 2007).

Figure 1. - Space Shuttle photograph of the Oyashio Current in the Bering Sea on March 1992. In the image it is clear the detail and complexity of the features that are present the ocean (Image courtesy of the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth."

The first satellite specifically designed for ocean applications was SeaSat-A launched in 1978 (Borne et al., 1979). Although it last only about 3 months due to spacecraft malfunction, its data clearly demonstrated the capabilities of microwave sensors for ocean research (e.g., circulation; surface winds, wave heights, tides, storm surges). After the demonstration of the potential of this kind of sensors for the monitoring of the global ocean, subsequent satellites missions carrying

similar instruments were launched, such as GEOSAT that flown from 1985 to 1990 and subsequent follow-on missions, ESA's ERS series (1991-present) and ENVISAT (2002-present) satellites, the French-American TOPEX/Poseidon (1992-present) and Jason (2001-present), the Japanese ADEOS (Advanced Earth Observing Satellites, called Midori in Japanese) series (1996-1997 and 20022003), NASA's QuickSCAT (1999-present), and the Canadian RADARSAT (1995-present) (Pettersson et al., 1995; Heimbach and Hasselmann, 2000; Fu, 2001). One of the great advantages of the microwave sensors in relation to the visible and infrared ones is the capacity of provide an allweather coverage of the ocean because they penetrates through clouds, rain and snow. Figure 1 - Space Shuttle photograph of the Oyashio Current in the Bering Sea on March 1992. In the image it is clear the detail and complexity of the features that are present the ocean (Image courtesy of the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." Another important milestone in ocean remote sensing was the launched in 1978 of CZCS (Coastal Zone Color Scanner) flown on NIMBUS-7 satellite that allows an 8 years data set widely used in ocean colour (biology and optics) research. Despite of this immense potential for biogeochemical, as well as physical oceanography studies, the ocean colour community had to wait for about 10 years for a new ocean colour mission, namely the Japanese ADEOS OCTS (Ocean Color and Temperature Scanner on board ADEOS satellites) and POLDER (POlarization and Directionality of the Earth's Reflectances - French sensor on board ADEOS satellites) (1996-1997), the German MOS on board the Indian satellite IRS-P3 (1996-2004) and the US SeaWiFS flown on Orbview-2 satellite (1997-present). Presently there are 10 ocean colour sensors in operation and the continuity colour measurements from space are guaranteed at least for the next decade with 6-7 more missions planned (Dickey et al., 2006; IOCCG, 2007). A good source of information about satellite ocean colour is the web site of the International Ocean-Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG) at Salinity is an ocean state variable that partially controls sea water density and has important implications for example in climate, ocean circulation and ecology. However, their global monitoring remains poor because of the scarcity of observations in large portions of the ocean. The objective of the future ESA's SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity - schedule for launch in 2008) and NASA/CONAE's [Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (Space Agency of Argentina)] Aquarius (2009) missions, is to measure surface salinity systematically at a global scale. Some more information about ocean remote sensing of salinity could be found in Lagerloef (2000; 2001), Le Vine et al. (2000) and Lagerloef and Schmitt (2006). Sensor calibration and data processing, a central problem in the remote sensing initial stages, has known a tremendous evolution. Consequently, the range of parameters observed from space, or derived from space observations, with positive results has broadened. The oceanographic scales resolved by remote sensing have decreased, and research on satellite observations of sub-mesoscale features is underway. Application of ocean RS that illustrated this evolution can be found in several reviews and books published during the last years, namely Ikeda and Dobson (1995), Nihoul et al. (1998), Halpern (2000), Cheney (2001), Fu (2001), Liu and Katsaros (2001), Liu and Wu (2001), McClain (2001), Minnett (2001), Parkinson (2001) and Plant (2001). To our knowledge the last review about the use of satellite and airborne remote sensing methods in fisheries was published by Santos (2000), in which several references to previous reviews about the subject could be found. Nowadays, many countries use satellite remote sensing technology for operational fisheries forecasting services, namely Japan and the US (Santos, 2000). Platt et al. (2007) discuss the role of biological oceanography in fisheries management and the importance of satellite RS as a tool complementary of ship observation for studying ocean processes of relevance at appropriate time and space scales. Future missions planned until 2015 that include instruments for ocean monitoring are presented in Figure 2. ESA also plans to launch the Sentinel satellite series in 2011-2012 in the frame of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme that will monitor the marine

noaa. Aguirre et al. Next we will detail each step. It is based on the measurement. atmospheric correction. Typically all the row of satellite remote sensing of the sea includes the sensor calibration. processing and analysis of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the ocean. geo-location. ocean remote sensing allows the measurement of oceanographic parameters and the knowledge of their spatial and temporal variability without physical contact with the sea.g. sea-level. or reflected by the sea surface from the incident solar radiation (passive remote sensing) or from emitting sources on board of the satellite (active remote sensing). image processing and applications of the satellite remote sensing.. oil spills). Figure 2 . although we can consider also as remote sensing the observations of vessel-mounted sonars and ecosounders. chlorophyll concentration. 2007. sediments.Present and future satellite oceanography missions (extracted from the Web site of the NOAA-NESDIS-Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) at http://www. ocean circulation. sea ice and icebergs among other things (Atterna et al.environment (e.. All sensors employed on .. 2007).orbit. sampling the ‘sea truth’ conditions. Thus. Technologies and Methodologies Satellite Remote Sensing Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without physical contact with it.nesdis. Principles.php). the term remote sensing is used to describe the measurement and analysis of information that is obtained with a sensor installed on board satellites and airplanes. In

surface chlorophyll concentration. The geo-location consists in the attribution of a geographical location to each pixel. including chlorophyll-a (phytoplankton) concentration. In recent years the positional identification process has taken advantage of the GPS satellites signals. However. Processing is based on the fact that all surfaces emit radiation. Oceanographic remote sensing data are presented in several levels of processing that tend to be standardized. water-leaving radiation. emitted by the ocean surface. a set of biological and optical parameters and processes. since 1997. and the gaps where no observations are available filled by optimal interpolation schemes. Finally the multiple applications of the satellite remote sensing depend on the sensor and/or sensor configuration. The samples shall span as large spectrum of data values as possible. keeping in mind that the value measured in a point may not be representative of the average parameter within the whole pixel sampled by the satellite. Level-1 adds calibration data. The level-0 contains the raw data as transmitted by radio-signal and received by the ground station. navigation data. Infrared scanning radiometers infer the sea surface temperature (SST) from near-infrared and infrared sensors measuring the electromagnetic radiation within the band 1-30 µm.). passive microwave radiometers. The most significant ocean colour sensors are the CZCS (Coastal Zone Color Scanner) that operated between 1978 and 1986. Thus. Analysis of the pixel reflectance by comparison with a preset threshold or with the surrounding pixels is used to map the cloud contamination. The choice of the strategy for the oceanographic sampling of the sea true is very important. Some sensors use onboard reference targets. Level-3 includes oceanographic parameters sampled during a certain period and interpolated on a geographical grid. Only certain wavelengths of the electromagnetic radiation are fully or partly transmitted through the atmosphere and the transmittance varies with the composition and state of the atmosphere. and on board of Aqua satellite launched in mid 2002. The sunlight that penetrates the ocean surface is selectively absorbed. etc. Level-2 product presents already oceanographic parameters derived from the application of algorithms (e. the cloud cover detection is the main difficulty. launched in late 1999. but this is difficult far from coastal regions. visible wavelength sensors. These products can contain data merged from different sources. and is closely related to the spatial resolution of the remote sensing data when compared with the spatial variability of the measured parameter. ranging from detailed modelling of the atmospheric conditions during data acquisition to simple calculations based solely on the image data. Often control points in the ground are used. For oceanographic purposes the important remote sensing devices are the infrared radiometers. surface temperature. Visible wavelength or ‘ocean colour’ sensors operate in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. and MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) on board of Terra satellite. in contrast with the infrared observations that sample only a surface film of the ocean. for satellite imagery in visible and infrared spectral bands. algal blooms and particulate matter as some of the most common. with variable accuracy.g. From the satellite remote sensing of the ocean colour it is possible to estimate. are used in radar-altimeter sensors due to the required accuracy. Several strategies can be applied to deal with the atmospheric effect. including in situ measurements. the strength of which . with constant optical characteristics. measuring solar radiation returned by the ocean in this band. atmospherically corrected and geo-located in sensor coordinates. Level-4 means images representing ocean variables averaged within each grid cell as a result of data analysis and/or modelling. and instrument and spacecraft details to the previous level. with depths of 50 meter or more in the case of colour radiance in the blue-green. reflected and scattered by the suspended material in the upper layers. but no periodic recalibration can be executed. to detect instrumental drifts that can be corrected during data processing. SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor). Sensors are calibrated before launching. Next we will briefly describe each device. diffuse attenuation coefficient. based on Doppler effect for orbit determination. active microwave sensing and satellite altimetry. the ocean colour reflects the suspended matter in the top layer of the ocean. More sophisticated methods.ocean observing satellites use electromagnetic radiation to view the sea.

the microwave sensors can survey in all weather conditions. The emissivity of the sea at microwave frequencies varies with the dielectric properties of sea water (including salinity) and the surface roughness. depending on surface waves. MODIS and some others. that results in low spatial resolution (25–150 km). which is perceived by the microwave scatterometer. Sea surface roughness is also the elemental parameter for the estimation of the wind over the ocean. Hence. Sea surface temperature is difficult to interpret because the upper ocean (approx. Sea surface is rough rather than flat and each individual return signal is very noisy. which permanently transmit signals at high frequency toward the earth beneath them. moisture and momentum. The most important are TOPEX/Poseidon. The result has very high resolution. oil slicks. with oblique viewing. haze. So. The radar altimeter is able to remove the effect of the ocean waves by averaging many successive pulses. The return time of the signal after reflection at the earth's surface is measured. measure the sea surface roughness based on the Bragg scattering. The thickness of the layer whose temperature is remotely sensed varies approximately between 10-20 µm depths. The SeaWinds instrument on the QuikSCAT (Quick Scatterometer) satellite is a specialized microwave radar lofted in mid 1999 to measure the near surface wind speed and direction under all weather and cloud conditions over the global ocean. Remote sensing of the sea surface topography is carried out by satellite altimeters radars. the measured in situ SST (called also bulk SST) corresponds to few centimetres or more. dust. The SST measurements on buoys and ships may be anything between 0. . These observations are used for studies of heat balance of the ocean. but if the surface is rough significant backscatter occurs. etc. The most important SST sensors are the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) on NOAA near polar earth orbiting satellites since 1978. due to the relatively long wavelength. internal waves. Oblique viewing of a smooth surface with active radar give virtually no return. the altimeter is the most dependent upon its orbit to achieve successful calibration and interpretation. To overcome noise levels a large field of view must be received. and this yields the height of the satellite. river plumes. The presence of surface films. The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is an active microwave device. based on the comprehensive analysis of contribution from individual points to the signal received when the sensor is at a particular point. This principle advantage is countered by the fact that thermal emission is very weak at these longer wavelengths. or small water particles in clouds. The derived operational product presently gives vector winds with 25 × 25 kilometers resolution.5 and 3 m deep. Stefan-Boltzman law states the total emitted energy is proportional to the fourth power of the temperature. In contrast. Passive microwave radiometers operate at electromagnetic wavelengths 1. SAR images enable the analysis of small-scale and mesoscale eddies. ice packs. the ATSR (Along Track Scanning Radiometer) on board ESA satellites. may also affect the difference between skin and bulk SST’s. Active microwave radiometers. They are not sensitive to scattering by the atmosphere or aerosols. ERS and Jason satellites. It is called skin SST and it measurement is subject to a large potential diurnal cycle including cool skin layer effects (especially at night under clear skies and low wind speed conditions) and warm layer effects in the daytime.depends on the surface temperature. like transient oil slicks. From all sensors carried on satellites. top 10 meters) has a complex and variable vertical temperature structure that is related to ocean turbulence and air-sea fluxes of heat. the development of this technique in future may enable the measurements of surface salinity.5–300 mm (frequency 1–200 GHz).

and topographic features. summer coastal upwelling is clearly identified by the large pigment values over the continental shelf and upper slope. 2004). filaments and jet-like features are found to be the main transport mechanism for the shelf-ocean exchange of phytoplankton and associated carbon fluxes. An extreme winter event was identified through SeaWiFS derived chlorophyll concentration off southwest Iberia in February 2001 (Peliz et al. Since remote sensing covers large areas on a regular mode. following a particularly intense period of rainfalls. such as prominent capes. whereas the absence of filaments correspond to either weak offshore transport or coastal convergence (Sousa and Bricaud. such as filaments of upwelled water stretching seaward and detached eddies. The location of the filaments recurrently coincides with protrusions in the coastal morphology. These well developed phytoplankton structures are generally related to moderate or intense offshore transport. Less obvious is the continuous band of very high concentrations along most of the continental shelf seen in the ocean colour imagery during the winter. a characteristic mesoscale feature that flows along the shelf break and upper slope off western Iberia from autumn till spring. are attributed to the retention of phytoplankton in a shallow buoyant layer of waters of inland origin. stretching to large distances from the coast and associated with winter upwelling events. More recently attention has been drawn to the relatively high chlorophyll concentrations derived from ocean colour (SeaWiFS) images over the shelf and slope. it has proven to be a precious aid in the description of the spatial structure and temporal variability of the near surface phytoplankton concentrations in the Iberian region on a seasonal to inter-annual basis. 1999). which almost vanishes during the transitions seasons (spring and autumn). Such surface concentrations. Etc.) One of the most frequent applications of the ocean colour remote sensing is the analysis of phytoplankton concentrations. Such enhanced primary production in winter may be attributed to the nutrient input from the river runoff (Peliz and Fiúza. 2005). The ocean colour images reveal the biological richness of these features. The poleward current. An extraordinary long filament transported coastal rich waters as far as 400 km offshore (Figure 5).. provided buoyancy and nutrients for an extensive phytoplankton production that was dragged till far from the coast by the offshore eddy dynamics. The frontal region between the rich costal waters and the oligotrophic offshore waters is populated during the summer by mesoscale features. that spreads offshore under the influence of upwelling favourable winds (Ribeiro et al. is captured in the ocean colour imagery as a large intrusion of low pigment concentration progressing northward. such as submarine ridges. For instance. 1992). Thus. which increase the dispersion of the pigments into the relatively poor open ocean.5 mg m-3 against typical values of 4-5 mg m-3 in summer). limiting the pigment rich coastal waters over the shelf and the moderate pigment concentrations offshore.CASE STUDIES IN THE IBERIAN PENINSULA Visible Remote Sensing Mesoscale Features (Eddies. high for wintertime (up to 3. Costal fresh water river plumes. . Filaments..

. Seawifs. 2005)... S is Cape Sines and SV is Cape São Vincente (adapted from Santos et al. the transport/dispersal of sardine larvae is affected by factors such as the wind driven transport. the WIBP could be studied using satellite-derived chlorophyll-a distributions (Ribeiro et al.SeaWiFS-derived chlorophyll-a distribution in SW Iberia in 12 February 2001.34 m s-1 (Ribeiro et al. 2007). the use of ocean colour RS can be an important tool in the study of frontal structures of this nature and also for studying processes related to the variability of recruitment of sardine (Sardina pilchardus) because the WIBP is a suitable environment for larval retention and survival (Santos et al. The study of the evolution in time of the WIBP using sequential SeaWiFS images revealed that eastward frontal velocities could be of the order of 0.8) fed by the winter discharges of several rivers of the NW coast of the Iberian Peninsula where phytoplankton productivity is enhanced by the availability of nutrients and stratification conditions (Ribeiro et al. 2004). The Western Iberian Buoyant Plumeand the Survival Of Sardine Larvae In the Western Iberia.. The southwestward filament is about 400 km long. For these reasons.. the locations of high chlorophyll-concentrations related with sub-surface maxima measured in situ with a fluorometer where also clearly seen in the SeaWiFS-derived distributions (Figure 6). 2005) and this is another interesting application of ocean colour RS that could be used to estimated the role of the WIBP in the drift of larval sardine during winter upwelling events off Western Iberia (Santos et al. 2004. Furthermore.38º N 3 S Chl-a (mg/m ) 37º N SV 36º N 13º W 11º W 9º W 7º W Figure 5 .. The spatial patterns captured by in situ measurements during an oceanographic survey off Western Iberia and by SeaWiFS were very similar (Figure 6). Thus. and the slope circulation associated with the Iberian Poleward Current (IPC) (Santos et al. 2006a). 2005). . the structure and circulation of the Western Iberia Buoyant Plume-WIBP (Western Iberia Buoyant Plume). The WIBP is a lens of water of 'low' salinity (< 35.. One of these maxima are related with a convergence zone located in the shelf break and it is interested to note that such frontal zone is not visible in the thermal AVHRR image but present in SeaWiFS data for the same day. 2004).

However. the majority dedicated to specific oceanographic features limited in space. Off Western Iberia the first applications of infrared satellite imagery to oceanography came from the late seventies (Santos et al. Therefore.. most of the present knowledge of the regional oceanography was built upon model simulations along with satellite imagery analysis. makes infrared sensors an ideal tool for monitoring and track mesoscale features there. some of them associated to the upwelling regime that dominates the oceanography of the region during a substantial part of the year. In the right plot is presented the in situ surface distribution of chlorophyll-a and in the left plot a cross-slope section obtained during an oceanographic survey cruise contemporaneous to the satellite image. The shaded red areas in the left and right plots represent the locations of the maxima and features seen in the satellite image (adapted from Ribeiro et al. the present recognition that the ocean circulation is dominated by meanders and eddies is itself a consequence of the satellite oceanography advent. 2006b). There.SeaWiFS-derived chlorophyll-a distribution of NW Iberia in 19 February 2000 (middle image). Infrared satellite imagery. In situ observations have been limited to short periods (1 to 3 weeks) on board of research vessels. The conspicuous contrast of the sea surface temperature in most of the coastal regions. the coastal circulation is dominated by mesoscale features. The upwelling season is roughly defined from March to September (Wooster et al. rather than to the coastal circulation at the basin scale. Box 1 What is upwelling? – The Ekman mechanism According to the Ekman theory the surface current lies 45º to the right (left) from the wind direction in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere caused by the rotation of the Earth (Coriolis effect). The white crosses in the satellite image indicate the location of the oceanographic stations and the red arrow the crossslope section presented in the right plot. Some main results obtained via infrared remote sensing are summarized next. infrared imagery ahead.. induced by the strong mesoscale activity.. 1976). The region is poorly sampled by in situ devices.Figure 6 . that angle of deviation increase with depth but their amplitude decay exponentially until a depth where the frictional influence of the wind is null (Ekman depth) forming the so-called Ekman spiral in the layer directly influence by the frictional . has proofed to be a powerful instrument for the guidance and optimization of many research cruises in the region. In fact. when transmitted on board on almost real time. 2005). Infrared Remote Sensing Coastal Circulation Infrared imagery is the most popular remote sensing source used by coastal oceanographers. in particular permanently moored instruments for long term observations and monitoring.

Cape São Vicente. Filaments export a much larger mass along their principal axis than expected by the purely wind-driven Ekman circulation. Thus. The dynamics of the filament formation is closely related to the wind regime and possibly with the sea surface topography off the continental shelf. the development and decaying time scales. being an important mechanism of exchange between coastal and open ocean waters. the culminating point of southwest Iberia. which are the base of the food web. with obvious implications in the ecosystem functioning. They account for about 50% of the total worldwide catches of marine species. through remote sensing analysis. while representing less than 3% of the ocean surface. these ecosystems are some of the most productive of the world and maintained important populations of fish. 2004). like western Iberia. is the root of a major cold filament. The existence of such structures off western Iberia was first identified trough infrared remote sensing. and still are. California. the frequency of occurrence and seasonal variability. . coastal upwelling occurs where Ekman transport moves surface waters away from the coast and is created by alongshore wind blowing across the ocean surface and pushing surface waters offshore (Ekman transport) perpendicular to the wind direction due to the Coriolis force. The thermal front that separates the coastal cold nutrient rich upwelled waters from the more oligotrophic offshore waters is much more complicated than a simple contorted border parallel to the coast. where the in situ sampling is poor. sampled several transects perpendicular to the filament axes. Recently.. make possible to follow the evolution of the coastal filaments and relate it with the forcing variables. 1993).action of the wind (Ekman layer). Thus. The recent evolution of the remote sensing of the sea level anomalies and wind over the ocean trough on board microwave radars. These are narrow contorted tongues of cooler upwelled water extending hundreds of kilometers seaward from the coastal zone. The frequency of satellite passes (2 a day for NOAA-AVHRR) and the relatively sparse cloud cover over western Iberia during the upwelling season. Infrared imagery was fundamental for the definition of it recurrent pattern and a valuable tool in the understanding of the process of it growth and decay (Relvas and Barton. Examples of such systems are the four major Eastern Boundary Current Systems of the World Oceans: the Canary. The number of filaments along the coast and the recurrent location of their roots in the major topographic features like prominent capes. it was possible to infer the exchange between the nutrient rich coastal waters and the oligotrophic offshore waters promoted by the upwelling filament.. 2002). The perception that the offshore eddy field could drag and modulate the filaments offshore is also a result from infrared imagery (Peliz et al. During the upwelling season the frontal region is populated with meanders and filaments. all is presently known (Haynes et al. The net movement of surface water in the integrated Ekman layer (Ekman transport) is about 90º to the right (left) of the wind direction in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere. a research cruise guided by SST imagery transmitted on board on quasi real time. along with the improvement in their accessibility. their maximum extension and width. makes the study of filaments and other costal features highly remote sensing dependent in regions. Thus. The displaced surface waters are replaced by upwelled cold and nutrient-rich subsurface waters that allowed the development of phytoplankton (primary producers) at the surface. and significant advances in the understanding of the filaments behaviour were done. since offshore eddies result in sea level anomalies. Benguela and Humboldt Current systems. marine mammals and seabirds.

which are known to be biologically actives. The existing data set is already long enough to capture decadal changes that occurred in the ecosystem since mid 1980s. 1984. The occurrence of coastal countercurrents reduces the cross-shelf transport.. Analysis of the magnitude of the surface temperature gradient between coastal and offshore waters. Peliz et al. attached to the coast. and Swordfish and Tuna Catch The widest application of satellite remote sensing to fisheries has been using infrared thermal data to detect frontal structures favourable for the aggregation of tuna (Laurs et al. The fishing success of swordfish (Xiphias gladius). it seems that behavioural mechanisms related with their feeding activity are the most accepted explanation (Fiedler and Bernard.. (2006b). increasing when the continental shelf narrows. characteristic of the upwelling regimes. 1987. and off the southern Iberian coast (Relvas and Barton. revealed a decadal scale shift of upwelling regime intensity from weak upwelling in 1980s to a stronger one in the 1990s. mainly because sea surface temperature is the oceanographic parameter that has been most successfully measured by satellite RS. phytoplankton and detritus prevail over the inner shelf.3 m s-1 were estimated for the countercurrent off southwest Iberia. Fronts. Such countercurrents. whenever the upwelling favourable winds decay. 2001. Tacking advantage of this thermal contrast. and the thermally stratified oceanic waters. bigeye (Thunnus obesus) and albacore (Thunnus alalunga) tuna off Western Iberia in relation to frontal structures associated with the dynamics of coastal upwelling was studied by Santos et al. 2007) A long archive of satellite derived sea surface temperature is also a valuable data set for the generation of regional climatologies. fronts and eddies) and also because ocean colour and other sensors has not been available on an operational basis. Laurs. The application of the front detection algorithms to this times series did permit the present knowledge of the recurrent location of upwelling fronts. Satellite-derived sea surface temperature maps have been used to describe the upwelling patterns off western Iberia. Assuming that the temperature is a tracer of the near surface current. vertically mixed. Higher catches of swordfish were associated to the strong thermal fronts formed offshore between old upwelling waters and . upwelled waters typically found over the shelf. With the set up of satellite remote sensing observations of the ocean in a regular basis during the past decades.. They have been observed off the northern (Galicia) and central parts of the western Iberia (Sordo et al. Brill and Lutcavage. Although the main mechanism of aggregation of tuna and tuna-like fish near ocean fronts are still in debate. objectives methods make possible the estimation of advective surface velocities from sequential infrared satellite images. 2001). Remote sensing did allow the detection of narrow warm inshore countercurrents that flow poleward over the inner shelf. such the California system (Cudaback et al. Inner shelf countercurrents are also visible in other upwelling systems. useful for examining the ocean variability and climatic change assessments..1-0..The upwelling regime has been extensively studied trough infrared imagery all over the world and Iberia is no exception. but is too distant for coastal experts. lay on a region traditionally not sampled because it is too close from the coast for oceanographers. Velocities of 0. automatic edge-detection methods have been developed to discern the location of such thermal fronts. so that alongshore dispersion and consequent retention of larvae stages. an effective estimate of large-scale upwelling intensity. about 10-20 km width. coastal upwelling. we can presently access to archives with relatively long time series of images. owing to the clear thermal contrast between the cold.. This has ecological consequences by preventing the transport between the inner shelf and the outer shelf. with obvious benefit for fisheries research (Relvas et al. 2005). This regime shift may be associated to the abrupt change of the North Atlantic Oscilation (NAO) observed in the earlier 1990s (Santos et al. Coastal Upwelling. 2002). 2002). 1989). The currently available time series of satellite data can adequately depict the known patterns of the climatology and seasonal variability of the western Iberia ecosystem and may be used for investigation of longer time-scale variability. 2005). is an indicator of important ocean processes (such as.

1983. 1993.8 swd/1000 hooks) than one week before. (2) 22 August 1992. (b) 17 August 1992 at 15:23 UTC and (c) 23 August 1992 at 15:51 UTC. 7b that oceanic warmer waters were converging towards the coast corresponding to the beginning of the upwelling relaxation phase. b there is not any thermal front in the fishing zone and therefore the fishing sets performed at that time led to low swordfish catches (0. Unfortunately. 1999) but probably related to their behaviour in relation to feeding.oceanic warmer waters during the relaxation of coastal upwelling.. 0. 16. The SST scale is expressed in o C. (2006b) did not find any ‘preferred’ temperature range for these large pelagic fishes supporting the hypothesis of others that the reason why they aggregate near surface fronts are not determined by thermo-physiological mechanisms (Carey and Robison. Swordfish (swd) catches per unit effort are: (1) 17-19 August 1992. Laurs. 8) that (often) constitute the extremity of upwelling filaments and are the surface manifestation of submesoscale anticyclonic/cyclonic eddy pairs. Podestá et al. however it is clearly seen in the northwest (upper left) corner of the satellite image of Fig. Bigelow et al. In Figure 7a. After one week (Fig.8 swordfish/1000 hooks).. . (a) (b) (c) 1 Figure 7 – Longline fishing sets (white lines) off the Portuguese west coast superimposed on nearly contemporary NOAA-11 satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) distributions: (a) 16 August 1992 at 15:35 UTC.8 swd/1000 h.. and (3) 23 August 1992.8 and 16. during this study (1990-1992) there is not any ocean colour sensor operational that allow any relationship with ocean productivity. the highest catches of tuna observed during this study were located on the warm (offshore) side of the thermal fronts that constitute the edges of mushroom-like thermal structures (Fig. 2006b).7 swd/1000 h. However. At the same time. This situation resulted in an increased catch about one order of magnitude greater (7..8 swd/1000 hooks. black represents clouds and land (adapted from Santos et al.7-1. Santos et al. 7. 1981. with values increasing from purple to red.7-1. 7c) a strong frontal structure developed in the fishing zone and separates old upwelled waters from openocean warmer waters advected shoreward meanwhile.

is a powerful procedure to describe the near surface ocean circulation. The classical view of the spreading of the Mediterranean water in the Atlantic changed dramatically in the early nineties with the discovery of meddies. and 12. 1992. in deeper waters. with few hundred meters of thickness. black represents clouds and land (adapted from Santos et al. little effort was put into the satellite detection of meddies.Figure 8 – Longline fishing set (white line) off the west coast of Portugal in 3 November 1992 superimposed on a NOAA-11 satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) distribution of November 2. along with infrared SST and/or visible imagery. eddies leave a clear anomaly imprint in the sea level field.2 alb/1000 h.8 bye/1000 h. because it was . or can it tell us some aspects of the subsurface structure? The Mediterranean outflow trough the Strait of Gibraltar. Microwaves Remote Sensing Altimetry. Is satellite remote sensing limited to the sampling of the ocean surface. at 05:18 UTC. Although the large errors associated with the detection of sea level anomalies trough satellite altimetry over shallow waters. 2002). Most of the present knowledge of the interaction process between the offshore eddy field and the coastal waters was built upon the analysis of the ocean topography acquired through microwave radar altimeters on board of satellites. except for a less conspicuous shallow core that flows at 400-600 meters depth along the southern Iberia continental slope. Altimetry. the offshore eddy field may play a fundamental role in the cold upwelling filaments formation and development (Sanchez. offers a unique feature to test such hypothesis. The SST scale is expressed in oC with values increasing from purple to red. respectively). with obvious bio-geo-chemical consequences. defined as the region where coastal waters interact with the open ocean. is populated by active eddies that play an important role on the crossshelf transport. along the southern frontier of the Iberian Peninsula.. Initially. The analysis of the positive and negative sea level anomalies (anticyclonic and cyclonic eddies. Bigeye (bye) and albacore (alb) tuna catch per unit effort were 37. was successfully used to infer the surface circulation in the eastern North Atlantic (Martins et al. 2005). It equilibrium depth is centered at about 1000 meters. Recent research suggests that such eddies can drag the coastal waters offshore and modulate the thermal front that separates the cold upwelled waters over the shelf from the offshore waters. such meanders and filaments.. For instance. Sea-Level Height. The cooperative analysis of satellite altimetry data and in situ measurements. 2006b). respectively. off the continental shelf. Surface Winds and Ocean Circulation The coastal transition zone off Western Iberia. such as lagrangian drifters or data from cruises or moorings. The Mediterranean water forms a relatively warm and salty tongue that extends westward from the Iberian Peninsula into the North Atlantic.. contribute to clarify the dynamical processes associated to the formation and development of coastal features. along with surface drifters.

conceived to sample the sea surface roughness and estimate the wind over the ocean. Pingree and Le Cann. Box 2 Meddies Meddies are clockwise rotating eddies of Mediterranean water. Remote sensed wind data are trustworthy. Traditionally the coastal meteorological stations are the source of the wind data in the upwelling systems studies. Results did show that coastal winds largely fail on representing the offshore wind field. it is difficult to separate the surface signals of meddies from the intrinsic upper layer dynamics and the tracking of the meddy pathways through remote sensing methods is still distant. is representative of the wind pattern over a limited area of the coastal ocean only (Sanchez et al.5ºW. they cover a large area over the ocean and have daily passes over the eastern North Atlantic. with 25 km resolution. did reveal the influence of the wind pattern on the establishment of characteristic patterns of the sea surface temperature at several time scales. within a certain extent.. subject to orographic effects. The wind measured in other stations. it was possible to conclude about the relation of the wind pattern. like western Iberia. Also the dynamics of the propagation of the meddy signal to the surface is still unclear. the evaluation of the wind field inhomogeneity. 30º-50ºN). Nowadays there is a reasonable confidence that some surface eddy structures visible in sea surface temperature satellite imagery off western and southern Iberia represent the signal of underlying meddy structures.5º-10. Typically they measure reliable wind velocities every hour or three hours. with typical diameters less than 100 km and about 200 meters of thickness. A differently designed active microwave sensor. Nevertheless. some studies start to associate surface features with the presence of the Mediterranean water and meddies (Stammer et al. The wind stress is the main forcing mechanism in the dynamics of upwelling systems. of about a tenth of meter directly above a meddy (Oliveira et al. through canonical correlation analysis. They are a key factor for the understanding of the salt and heat transport in the Atlantic.. till the local scale around Cape São Vicente (5. but in sparse locations and on land. located along relatively straight coastline segments. consistent with the clockwise meddy rotation. Also. which are able to transport water of Mediterranean origin over thousands of kilometres with very little mixing. The combined analysis of satellite winds and sea surface temperatures. 2007a).0ºN). They represent a powerful tool in upwelling systems because they allow the computation of wind stress curl over the ocean and. the southwest tip of the Iberian Peninsula. 1993). 35. 2007b). The exception is the station located in the prominent and exposed Cape São Vicente.supposed that such structures would leave no signal at the surface. .. However. 1991. with oblique viewing.. is transported on board of the QuikScat satellite. and consequently of the sea surface pattern. Off southwest Iberia remote sensing winds retrieved from the QuikScat microwave scatterometer. Due to the satellite remote sensing nature of the data. the altimetry data reveal positive sea level anomalies. with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) (Sanchez et al. that covers the studied area in a continuous way. The spatial scales of the analysis vary from a vast region centered in the Iberian Peninsula (0º-20ºW. 2000). were compared with the winds measured in land-based coastal stations.5º-39.

then the vertical motion of internal waves will introduce a significantly enhancement in primary production (Lande and Yentsch. during the short SEASAT mission. Shorter period internal waves. The pycnocline formed provide the ideal interface along which such waves can travel. zooplankton and even small fish). Large scale internal waves with tidal periods are found on the Iberian shelf. Submesoscale Phenomena And Primary Production Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is an active microwave sensor designed to observe the sea surface roughness. Direct observational evidence of the propagation of internal waves off western Iberia with ship-mounted thermistor chains reveal the appearance of thermocline depressions at different points of the shelf. with vertical displacements as large as 45 meters (Jeans and Sherwin. undergoing vertical displacements by internal tides. Light intensity decreases exponentially with depth (Beer’s law). During the summer. Non-linear internal waves may produce a net transport of in-water particles (phytoplankton. since they are not autonomous in their early stages and cannot control their cross-shore position. Box 3 Internal waves Internal waves are waves that propagate within the body of a stratified fluid. Internal tidal waves may increase primary production in the upper pycnocline by increasing the average light intensity experienced by phytoplankton near the pycnocline. 2001). Assuming that near the pycnocline the photosynthesis is proportional to the total daily irradiance.SAR. The first applications of SAR images off the Iberian Peninsula come from the late seventies. including packets of internal “solitary” waves. propagating towards the shore (Alpers. and are referred as internal tides. Many species are dependent on environmental cross-shore transport mechanisms to reach adult habitats. 1985). are also frequently observed at the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula. the surface layer of the ocean (30-50 m) can be up to 10ºC warmer than the water bellow. because of the linear response to the dim light conditions near the euphotic zone. which in the upper layer is usually in the . 1988). Short-period internal waves are also important biological factors because of their impact on the development and transport of plankton. Sea Surface Roughness. It performs well in all weather conditions. Internal waves were first sampled from space over the western Iberia shelf through colour photography taken by the US astronauts during the Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975 (Apel. The sea surface roughness pattern shown by a SAR image covering the coastal region from 40º to 41º N was interpreted as the surface manifestation of a large quantity of internal wave trains. A neutrally buoyant or slowly sinking phytoplankton cell. is exposed to a greater average light intensity than that at its average depth. 1979). as well as in many others shelf edge regions.

. Some of these organisms have the ability to remain at the leading edge of the internal motion by swimming against the dowelling currents or because they are sufficiently buoyant. as it is the case off the western Iberian coast). and have an opportunity to complete their life cycle. integrated into a Geographical Information System (GIS) database. This mechanism is particularly effective when the transport by internal waves cooperates with the wind drift and plankton swimming (Shanks. Satellite SAR high resolution images can also provide a functional manner to predict the location of internal waves. 1995). with 1 km resolution. such as wind data or in situ observations. 2002). A prompt detection of internal waves through remote sensing is important since they are believed to impact the primary production over the shelf. Because of its large coverage. and when the disturbance propagates all the way to the shore.same direction as the internal wave propagation (when the pycnocline displacements are of depression type. reach the adult habitat. in particular oil spill monitoring and tracking. with resolution of 25 m. independence of the day-night cycle and all-weather capability. space-borne SAR has been proven to be an useful tool for detection of surface films in the ocean. did confirm the assumption. 2006).. Larval accumulation can occur at the leading edge of internal tidal bores. causing aggregation of organisms in slicks (Pineda. . Typical distances reached by such horizontal transport are of the order of several kilometres (Lamb. Almost contemporaneous SAR overpasses. the larvae would be effectively transported onshore. as it will be discussed in the next paragraph.. thus in coastal regions. Research following the Prestige accident off northwest Iberia did show that radar imagery along with other information. 1999). Internal tidal bores have also been identified as an important mechanism of nutrient supply to the near-shore. 1997). Internal tidal waves may leave a distinct signature in ocean colour remotely sensed images too (da Silva et al. A good agreement between predicted and observed locations of internal wave packets was already achieved in an experiment carried out off the northern part of the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula (da Silva et al. 1997). Those bands were 30-50 km width and could be detected by the SeaWiFS sensor. Bands of enhanced levels of near-surface chlorophyll in the central region of the Bay of Biscay were associated with the uplifting of a subsurface chlorophyll maximum by passing internal tide waves travelling away from the shelf break. provide a powerful instrument to study the spatial distribution and the evolution of the oil slicks (Palenzuela et al.

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7. 8. Short Answer Questions 1. 2. 8. 3. 4. 9. Name some ocean features that could be analysed by SAR images. ATSR and SeaWiFS are the most important ocean colour sensors. Spatial processes are not important in marine ecosystems. 10. 2. Surface winds could be measured by remote sensing. 12. CZCS.g. How can internal tidal waves increase primary production in the surface layers? . 7. 3. 11. rain and snow. Explain why the Western Iberia Buoyant Plume (WIBP) could be study using ocean colour remote sensing. 9. 11. Visible and infrared sensor could not penetrate through clouds. Earth photographs taken by astronauts could be used to study the ocean. Level-1 processing contains the raw data. 5.. Infrared wavelength penetrates 10-20 m deep in the ocean. Infrared wavelength is use to estimate sea surface temperature. 10. AVHRR is mostly used to estimate chlorophyll-a concentration. or can it be used to study subsurface structures? Name 3 biological or optical parameters that could be estimate by ocean colour remote sensing. 5. What is ocean remote sensing? Describe the main steps in ocean remote sensing. Why is geo-location difficult in the open ocean? What are the main limitations of the use of visible and infrared satellite imagery to study the ocean? Why are infrared sensor data suitable for study coastal upwelling? What is the great advantage of the microwave sensors in relation to the visible and infrared ones? Is satellite remote sensing limited to the sampling of the ocean surface. 12. Salinity could not be measured by remote sensing. AVHRR is the most used sensor in ocean remote sensing. Visible wavelength is the same as ocean colour. 6. swordfish). Explain why ocean colour remote sensing could be important in explain the distribution of tuna and tuna-like species (e.QUESTION BANK True or False 1. 4. 6.