Oestreich William K.

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William K.

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  • Article
    Geostatistical analysis of mesoscale spatial variability and error in SeaWiFS and MODIS/Aqua global ocean color data
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-01-05) Glover, David M. ; Doney, Scott C. ; Oestreich, William K. ; Tullo, Alisdair W.
    Mesoscale (10–300 km, weeks to months) physical variability strongly modulates the structure and dynamics of planktonic marine ecosystems via both turbulent advection and environmental impacts upon biological rates. Using structure function analysis (geostatistics), we quantify the mesoscale biological signals within global 13 year SeaWiFS (1998–2010) and 8 year MODIS/Aqua (2003–2010) chlorophyll a ocean color data (Level-3, 9 km resolution). We present geographical distributions, seasonality, and interannual variability of key geostatistical parameters: unresolved variability or noise, resolved variability, and spatial range. Resolved variability is nearly identical for both instruments, indicating that geostatistical techniques isolate a robust measure of biophysical mesoscale variability largely independent of measurement platform. In contrast, unresolved variability in MODIS/Aqua is substantially lower than in SeaWiFS, especially in oligotrophic waters where previous analysis identified a problem for the SeaWiFS instrument likely due to sensor noise characteristics. Both records exhibit a statistically significant relationship between resolved mesoscale variability and the low-pass filtered chlorophyll field horizontal gradient magnitude, consistent with physical stirring acting on large-scale gradient as an important factor supporting observed mesoscale variability. Comparable horizontal length scales for variability are found from tracer-based scaling arguments and geostatistical decorrelation. Regional variations between these length scales may reflect scale dependence of biological mechanisms that also create variability directly at the mesoscale, for example, enhanced net phytoplankton growth in coastal and frontal upwelling and convective mixing regions. Global estimates of mesoscale biophysical variability provide an improved basis for evaluating higher resolution, coupled ecosystem-ocean general circulation models, and data assimilation.
  • Article
    Colored dissolved organic matter in shallow estuaries : relationships between carbon sources and light attenuation
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2016-02-02) Oestreich, William K. ; Ganju, Neil K. ; Pohlman, John W. ; Suttles, Steven E.
    Light availability is of primary importance to the ecological function of shallow estuaries. For example, benthic primary production by submerged aquatic vegetation is contingent upon light penetration to the seabed. A major component that attenuates light in estuaries is colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM). CDOM is often measured via a proxy, fluorescing dissolved organic matter (fDOM), due to the ease of in situ fDOM sensor measurements. Fluorescence must be converted to CDOM absorbance for use in light attenuation calculations. However, this CDOM–fDOM relationship varies among and within estuaries. We quantified the variability in this relationship within three estuaries along the mid-Atlantic margin of the eastern United States: West Falmouth Harbor (MA), Barnegat Bay (NJ), and Chincoteague Bay (MD/VA). Land use surrounding these estuaries ranges from urban to developed, with varying sources of nutrients and organic matter. Measurements of fDOM (excitation and emission wavelengths of 365 nm (±5 nm) and 460 nm (±40 nm), respectively) and CDOM absorbance were taken along a terrestrial-to-marine gradient in all three estuaries. The ratio of the absorption coefficient at 340 nm (m−1) to fDOM (QSU) was higher in West Falmouth Harbor (1.22) than in Barnegat Bay (0.22) and Chincoteague Bay (0.17). The CDOM : fDOM absorption ratio was variable between sites within West Falmouth Harbor and Barnegat Bay, but consistent between sites within Chincoteague Bay. Stable carbon isotope analysis for constraining the source of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in West Falmouth Harbor and Barnegat Bay yielded δ13C values ranging from −19.7 to −26.1 ‰ and −20.8 to −26.7 ‰, respectively. Concentration and stable carbon isotope mixing models of DOC (dissolved organic carbon) indicate a contribution of 13C-enriched DOC in the estuaries. The most likely source of 13C-enriched DOC for the systems we investigated is Spartina cordgrass. Comparison of DOC source to CDOM : fDOM absorption ratios at each site demonstrates the relationship between source and optical properties. Samples with 13C-enriched carbon isotope values, indicating a greater contribution from marsh organic material, had higher CDOM : fDOM absorption ratios than samples with greater contribution from terrestrial organic material. Applying a uniform CDOM : fDOM absorption ratio and spectral slope within a given estuary yields errors in modeled light attenuation ranging from 11 to 33 % depending on estuary. The application of a uniform absorption ratio across all estuaries doubles this error. This study demonstrates that light attenuation coefficients for CDOM based on continuous fDOM records are highly dependent on the source of DOM present in the estuary. Thus, light attenuation models for estuaries would be improved by quantification of CDOM absorption and DOM source identification.