EARSeL eProceedings Vol. 3, No. 2, 166-178, 2004

A survey of total suspended matter in the southern North Sea based on the 2001 SeaWiFS data
Marieke A. Eleveld, Reinold Pasterkamp and Hans J. van der Woerd

Assessing the spatio-temporal distribution of total suspended matter (TSM) concentrations is important for management of the North Sea. Especially, information on supply, transport, and deposition of TSM is required. TSM in the North Sea was studied with Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) Level 1A Local Area Coverage (LAC) data. All SeaWiFS data covering the southern North Sea for 2001 were acquired and processed using the SeaWiFS Data Analysis System (SeaDAS 4.0) with MUMM's turbid water extended atmospheric correction algorithm. Subsequently, the POWERS TSM algorithm was used to derive TSM concentration (in mg l1) from SeaWiFS sub-surface irradiance reflectance, R(0), in band 5. Seasonal variation in TSM concentration was extracted from composites, and statistics on TSM concentrations were produced for any location within the research area. Persistent high TSM concentrations were found near the Flemish Banks and the German Bight, and in the Greater Thames Estuary and East-Anglian Plume. Supply of TSM came from fluvial input, erosion of coastal areas and resuspension from bottom sediments, and primary production. Combining TSM concentration with knowledge of the general circulation in the North Sea yielded information on surficial (net) TSM transport. On the other hand, currents and the position of fronts were also derived from patterns in TSM concentrations. Settling and subsequent deposition of TSM occurred at times with low current velocity and little wave action. An example of TSM settling after storm was also perceived. The results show that SeaWiFS images are an excellent source for the monitoring of TSM concentrations in the North Sea, and that information on supply, transport, and settling of TSM can be derived.

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Submitted: 04 June 2003
Revised: 13 February 2004
Accepted: 13 February 2004

Eleveld M A, R Pasterkamp & H J van der Woerd, 2004. A survey of total suspended matter in the southern North Sea based on the 2001 SeaWiFS data. EARSeL eProceedings 3(2), 166-178


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