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September 2013

Publication Title

Earth Interactions



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Tropical cyclones, Phytoplankton, Sea surface temperature


Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology


This study investigates phytoplankton blooms following the passage of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean basins. The variables of sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll (Chl-a), precipitation, and storm surface winds were monitored for two case studies, Typhoon Xangsane (2006) and Hurricane Earl (2010). Strong near-surface wind from tropical cyclones creates internal friction, which causes deep nutrient enriched waters to displace from the bottom of the ocean floor up toward the surface. In return, the abundance of upwelled nutrients near the surface provides an ideal environment for the growth of biological substances such as chlorophyll and phytoplankton. The inverse correlation coefficients of SST and Chl-a for this study are −0.67 and −0.26 for Xangsane and Earl, respectively. This suggests that, regardless of ocean basin, changing sea surface temperature and chlorophyll concentrations can be correlated to various characteristics of tropical cyclones including precipitation and surface wind, which in combination results in an increase of phytoplankton.


SJSU users: Use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.This article was published in Earth Interactions, volume 17, issue 17, 2013, and can also be found online here.© Copyright 2013, American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. All AMS journals and monograph publications are registered with the Copyright Clearance Center ( Questions about permission to use materials for which AMS holds the copyright can also be directed to Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement, available on the AMS website (