Optical characterization of water masses within the Columbia River plume

Sherry L. Palacios, Tawnya Peterson, Raphael M. Kudela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Columbia River plume (CRP) is a buoyant plume that influences the Oregon and Washington shelf with the delivery of freshwater, silicic acid, trace metals, and particulate and dissolved organic matter. The highly dynamic plume contains submesoscale features that have an impact on the chemistry, biology, and transport of water and material offshore. Bio-optical classification of the larger plume water mass has confirmed seasonal and annual flow patterns but has not described the internal structure of the plume in a biogeochemically relevant way, as there were no in situ data to validate classification. The Objectives of this study were to define water types statistically within the CRP using in situ measurements of biogeochemically and bio-optically relevant variables, to build a training data set from these water types, and to apply this training data set to 250 m resolution Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aqua imagery from an oceanographically downwelling and upwelling period to predictively discriminate water masses within the plume. This study's classification technique was effective at predicting water types in the CRP. The three-variable input matrix (temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll a fluorescence) performed better than the two-variable input matrix (temperature and salinity) at distinguishing fine-scale structure within the plume at the river mouth. Retentive features such as the plume bulge and eddies were observed at the river mouth and on the Washington shelf. This classification approach was limited to the available continuous variables measured by shipboard, mooring, and satellite sensors. Two new classification Methods are proposed that build on the framework of the classifier described here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberC11020
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume117
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Columbia (Orbiter)
river plume
Columbia River
rivers
water mass
plumes
plume
Rivers
Water
water
mouth
Silicic Acid
salinity
silicic acid
shelves
Mooring
moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer
dissolved organic matter
matrix
satellite sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Oceanography

Cite this

Optical characterization of water masses within the Columbia River plume. / Palacios, Sherry L.; Peterson, Tawnya; Kudela, Raphael M.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 117, No. 11, C11020, 2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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