Tracing the trajectory of pelagic Sargassum using satellite monitoring and Lagrangian transport simulations in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea

Kyungman Kwon, Byoung-Ju Choi, Kwang Young Kim, Keunyong Kim
2019 ALGAE  
Northeastward drifts of massive Sargassum patches were observed in the East China Sea (ECS) and Yellow Sea (YS) by the Geostationary Ocean Color Imager (GOCI) in May 2017. Coverage of the brown macroalgae patches was the largest ever recorded in the ECS and YS. Three-dimensional circulation modeling and Lagrangian particle tracking simulations were conducted to reproduce drifting trajectories of the macroalgae patches. The trajectories of the macroalgae patches were controlled by winds as well
more » ... s surface currents. A windage (leeway) factor of 1% was chosen based on sensitivity simulations. Southerly winds in May 2017 contributed to farther northward intrusion of the brown macroalgae into the YS. Although satellite observation and numerical modeling have their own limitations and associated uncertainties, the two methods can be combined to find the best estimate of Sargassum patch trajectories. When satellites were unable to capture all patches because of clouds and sea fog in the ECS and YS, the Lagrangian particle tracking model helped to track and restore the missing patches in satellite images. This study suggests that satellite monitoring and numerical modeling are complementary to ensure accurate tracking of macroalgae patches in the ECS and YS.
doi:10.4490/algae.2019.34.12.11 fatcat:gqx6pd3q2ra6tj73sctv42vdum