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A pseudo‐Lagrangian method for remapping ocean biogeochemical tracer data: Calculation of net Chl‐a growth rates


A key goal in understanding the ocean's biogeochemical state is estimation of rates of change of critical tracers, particularly components of the planktonic ecosystem. Unfortunately, because ship survey data are not synoptic, it is difficult to obtain spatially resolved estimates of the rates of change of tracers sampled in a moving fluid. Here we present a pseudo-Lagrangian transformation to remap data from underway surveys to a pseudo-synoptic view. The method utilizes geostrophic velocities to back advect and relocate sampling positions, removing advection aliasing. This algorithm produces a map of true relative sampling locations, and allows for determination of the relative locations of observations acquired along streamlines, as well as a corrected view of the tracer's spatial gradients. We then use a forward advection scheme to estimate the tracer's relative change along streamlines, and use these to calculate spatially resolved, net specific rates of change. Application of this technique to Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) fluorescence data around an ocean front is presented. We obtain 156 individual estimates of Chl-a fluorescence net specific rate of change, covering ∼1200 km2. After incorporating a diffusion-like model to estimate error, the method shows that the majority of observations (64%) were significantly negative. This pseudo-Lagrangian approach generates more accurate spatial maps than raw survey data, and allows spatially resolved estimates of net rates of tracer change. Such estimates can be used as a rate budget constraint that, in conjunction with standard rate measurements, will better determine biogeochemical fluxes.

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