Winds Connect Snow to Sea

This is from the Earth Observatory website an article by Rebecca Lindsey February 21, 2006. It's mostly intact but I scrubbed a lot of filler. …

Winds Connect Snow to Sea by Rebecca Lindsey February 21, 2006

Joaquim Goés’: Low-snow winters across Europe and Asia will be followed by summers during which the amount of fish food in the Arabian Sea will skyrocket.

Such a connection seems hard to believe; after all, thousands of miles and half a year separate the areas and the events. But in 2004, Goés, an oceanographer and remote-sensing expert from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and colleagues put together a trail of evidence that they say leaves little doubt that the long-distance connection is real.

According to Goés, he was trying to correct a mistake he had made on a separate project.

“We were funded by NASA to come up with maps of nitrate concentrations in the world’s oceans based on satellite observations of chlorophyll and sea surface temperature,” he said. Nitrate is the major source of nitrogen for phytoplankton and knowing nitrate concentrations helps model the ocean carbon cycle.

After months of work on the project, it seemed like their mapping technique had a major bug: It didn’t seem to work for the Arabian Sea. According to the maps, nitrate amounts in the Arabian Sea during the summer months of July-August were way too high. Goés couldn’t find any estimates in the scientific literature that were as high as his team’s maps suggested. “So, we started this research as a way to backtrack from what we thought was a mistake in our technique for mapping nitrate.”


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