, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 39-47
Date: 19 Dec 2003

Use of SeaWiFS ocean color data to estimate neritic sediment mass transport from carbonate platforms for two hurricane-forced events

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Plumes of neritic sediment caused by the passage of Hurricane Gert near Bermuda in 1999, and by the passage of Hurricane Michelle over Cuba’s Gulf of Batabano in 2001, were observed by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS). The mass of sediments in each of these plumes, which consist largely of neritic carbonate particles, was estimated using an algorithm for the calculation of suspended sediment concentrations. The Bermuda and Batabano plumes transported 0.22 and 1.2–1.35 million kg of sediment, respectively. The algorithm results were compared with the results from two other sediment mass algorithms and proved to be consistent. These results indicate the potential use of remote sensing to estimate carbonate flux from coral reefs and banks and atolls as an augmentation to in situ studies. In addition, the use of remote sensing data may improve estimates of the annual global carbonate sediment flux, a quantity important to models of global carbonate production and the global carbon cycle.

James G. Acker and Denis Nadeau are employed by Science Systems and Applications, Inc.