A recent study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, has highlighted a fundamental influence on the accuracy of satellite observations of sea surface temperature: surface blooms of the algae Trichodesmium sp.

The paper, whose authors include Kim Bird (PhD student) and Research Fellow Michael Cunliffe of the MBA, describes the biologically controlled warming and inhibition of salinization of surface waters by cyanobacterial surface blooms.

Ms Bird said, “In this study, we describe a new microbiologically driven phenomenon to force "apparent" freshening and warming of the sea surface, which was previously assumed to occur only by precipitation. This has been possible because of the interdisciplinary approach taken, using the combined observations made by our international team of chemical, physical and biological oceanographers during the Schmidt Ocean Institute #AirtoSea cruise”.

Link to full paper here.

May 17, 2018 By gralin