Atmospheric forcing on chlorophyll concentration in the Mediterranean

Isidora Katara, Janine Illian, Graham J. Pierce, Beth Scott, Jianjun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research suggests the coupling of climatic fluctuations and changes in biological indices that describe species richness, abundance and spatiotemporal distribution. In this study, large-scale modes of atmospheric variability over the northern hemisphere are associated with chlorophyll-a concentration in the Mediterranean. Sea level atmospheric pressure, air temperature, wind speed and precipitation are used to account for climatic and local weather effects, whereas sea surface temperature, sea surface height and salinity are employed to describe oceanic variation. Canonical Correlation Analysis was applied to relate chlorophyll concentration to the above-mentioned environmental variables, while correlation maps were also built to distinguish between localized and distant effects. Spectral analysis was used to identify common temporal cycles between chlorophyll concentration and each environmental variable. These cycles could be interpreted as mechanistic links between chlorophyll and large-scale atmospheric variability. Known teleconnection patterns such as the East Atlantic/Western Russian pattern, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Polar/Eurasian pattern, the East Pacific/North Pacific, the East Atlantic jet and the Mediterranean Oscillation are found to be the most important modes of atmospheric variability related to chlorophyll-a concentration and distribution. The areas that are mostly affected are near the coasts and areas of upwelling and gyre formation. The results also suggest that this influence may arise either through local effects of teleconnection patterns on oceanic features or large-scale changes superimposed onto the general circulation in the Mediterranean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-48
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Early online date1 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • teleconnection pattern
  • canonical correlation analysis
  • productivity
  • North-Atlantic oscillation
  • plankton recorder survey
  • precipitation variability
  • El-Nino
  • circulation patterns
  • Equatorial Pacific
  • marine ecosystems
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Indian monsoon
  • climate-change


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