Ocean Science Journal

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 475–485 | Cite as

Improved Chlorophyll-a Algorithm for the Satellite Ocean Color Data in the Northern Bering Sea and Southern Chukchi Sea

  • Sang Heon Lee
  • Jongseong Ryu
  • Jung-woo Park
  • Dabin Lee
  • Jae-Il Kwon
  • Jingping Zhao
  • SeungHyun SonEmail author


The Bering and Chukchi seas are an important conduit to the Arctic Ocean and are reported to be one of the most productive regions in the world’s oceans in terms of high primary productivity that sustains large numbers of fishes, marine mammals, and sea birds as well as benthic animals. Climate-induced changes in primary production and production at higher trophic levels also have been observed in the northern Bering and Chukchi seas. Satellite ocean color observations could enable the monitoring of relatively long term patterns in chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentrations that would serve as an indicator of phytoplankton biomass. The performance of existing global and regional Chl-a algorithms for satellite ocean color data was investigated in the northeastern Bering Sea and southern Chukchi Sea using in situ optical measurements from the Healy 2007 cruise. The model-derived Chl-a data using the previous Chl-a algorithms present striking uncertainties regarding Chl-a concentrations – for example, overestimation in lower Chl-a concentrations or systematic overestimation in the northeastern Bering Sea and southern Chukchi Sea. Accordingly, a simple two band ratio (Rrs(443)/Rrs(555)) algorithm of Chl-a for the satellite ocean color data was devised for the northeastern Bering Sea and southern Chukchi Sea. The MODIS-derived Chl-a data from July 2002 to December 2014 were produced using the new Chl-a algorithm to investigate the seasonal and interannual variations of Chl-a in the northern Bering Sea and the southern Chukchi Sea. The seasonal distribution of Chl-a shows that the highest (spring bloom) Chl-a concentrations are in May and the lowest are in July in the overall area. Chl-a concentrations relatively decreased in June, particularly in the open ocean waters of the Bering Sea. The Chl-a concentrations start to increase again in August and become quite high in September. In October, Chl-a concentrations decreased in the western area of the Study area and the Alaskan coastal waters. Strong interannual variations are shown in Chl-a concentrations in all areas. There is a slightly increasing trend in Chl-a concentrations in the northern Bering Strait (SECS). This increasing trend may be related to recent increases in the extent and duration of open waters due to the early break up of sea ice and the late formation of sea ice in the Chukchi Sea.


chlorophyll-a ocean color remote sensing Bering sea Chukchi sea 


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Copyright information

© Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology (KIOST) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sang Heon Lee
    • 1
  • Jongseong Ryu
    • 2
  • Jung-woo Park
    • 3
  • Dabin Lee
    • 1
  • Jae-Il Kwon
    • 4
  • Jingping Zhao
    • 5
  • SeungHyun Son
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Oceanography, College of Natural SciencesPusan National UniversityBusanKorea
  2. 2.Department of Marine BiotechnologyAnyang UniversityIncheonKorea
  3. 3.Graduate School of Fisheries SciencesHokkaido UniversityHakodate, HokkaidoJapan
  4. 4.Operational Oceanography Research CenterKIOSTBusanKorea
  5. 5.Department of Physical and Environmental OceanographyOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  6. 6.CIRAColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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