Journal of the European Optical Society - Rapid publications, Vol 5 (2010)

Ocean colour changes in the North Pacific since 1930.

M. R. Wernand, H. J. van der Woerd


In this paper we present an analysis of historical ocean colour data from the North Pacific Ocean. This colour is described by the Forel-Ule colour index, a sea colour comparator scale that is composed of 21 tube colours that is routinely measured since the year 1890. The main objective of this research is to characterise colour changes of the North Pacific Ocean at a timescale of decades. Next to the seasonal colour changes, due to the yearly cycle of biological activity, this time series between 1930 and 1999 might contain information on global changes in climate conditions. From seasonal independent analyses of the long-term variations it was found that the greenest values, with mean Forel-Ule scale ((FU) ̅) of 4.1 were reached during the period of 1950-1954, with a second high ((FU) ̅ = 3) in the period 1980-1984. The bluest ocean was encountered during the years 1990-1994. The data indicate that after 1955 a remarkable long bluing took place till 1980.

© The Authors. All rights reserved. [DOI: 10.2971/jeos.2010.10015s]

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