A comprehensive satellite-based assessment across the Pacific Arctic Distributed Biological Observatory shows widespread late-season sea surface warming and sea ice declines with significant influences on primary productivity
Massive declines in sea ice cover and widespread warming seawaters across the Pacific Arctic region over the past several decades have resulted in profound shifts in marine ecosystems that have cascaded throughout all trophic levels. The Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) provides sampling infrastructure for a latitudinal gradient of biological "hotspot" regions across the Pacific Arctic region, with eight sites spanning the northern Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. The purpose of this study is two-fold: (a) to provide an assessment of satellite-based environmental variables for the eight DBO sites (including sea surface temperature (SST), sea ice concentration, annual sea ice persistence and the timing of sea ice breakup/formation, chlorophyll-a concentrations, primary productivity, and photosynthetically available radiation (PAR)) as well as their trends across the 2003-2020 time period; and (b) to assess the importance of sea ice presence/open water for influencing primary productivity across the region and for the eight DBO sites in particular. While we observe significant trends in SST, sea ice, and chlorophyll-a/primary productivity throughout the year, the most significant and synoptic trends for the DBO sites have been those during late summer and autumn (warming SST during October/November, later shifts in the timing of sea ice formation, and increases in chlorophyll-a/primary productivity during August/September). Those DBO sites where significant increases in annual primary productivity over the 2003-2020 time period have been observed include DBO1 in the Bering Sea (37.7 g C/m2/year/decade), DBO3 in the Chukchi Sea (48.0 g C/m2/year/decade), and DBO8 in the Beaufort Sea (38.8 g C/m2/year/decade). The length of the open water season explains the variance of annual primary productivity most strongly for sites DBO3 (74%), DBO4 in the Chukchi Sea (79%), and DBO6 in the Beaufort Sea (78%), with DBO3 influenced most strongly with each day of additional increased open water (3.8 g C/m2/year per day). These synoptic satellite-based observations across the suite of DBO sites will provide the legacy groundwork necessary to track additional and inevitable future physical and biological change across the region in response to ongoing climate warming. Copyright: This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
Frey, Karen E.; Comiso, Josefino C.; Stock, Larry V.; Young, Luisa N C; Cooper, Lee W.; and Grebmeier, Jacqueline M., "A comprehensive satellite-based assessment across the Pacific Arctic Distributed Biological Observatory shows widespread late-season sea surface warming and sea ice declines with significant influences on primary productivity" (2023). Geography. 946.
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