Diatoms are the major marine primary producers in the Southern Ocean and a key component of the carbon and silicate biogeochemical cycle. Using 15 years of satellite-derived diatom concentration from September to April (1997–2012), we examine the mean patterns and the interannual variability of the diatom bloom phenology in the Southern Ocean. Mean spatial patterns of timing and duration of diatom blooms are generally associated with the position of the Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current Front and of the maximum sea ice extent. In several areas the anomalies of phenological indices are found to be correlated with ENSO and SAM. Composite maps of the anomalies reveal distinct spatial patterns and opposite events of ENSO and SAM have similar effects on the diatom phenology. For example, in the Ross Sea region, a later start of the bloom and lower diatom biomass were observed associated with El Niño and negative SAM events; likely influenced by an increase in sea ice concentration during these events.
AWI Organizations > Climate Sciences > Junior Research Group: Phytooptics