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e-Research: A Journal of Undergraduate Work

Abstract

Airborne pollutants contribute to ocean acidification and hence to the associated chlorophyll content level. Previous work showed that falling aerosols causing ocean acidification would in turn result in bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders. Chlorophyll content has been used as a measure of the concentration of the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll a (the most common "green" chlorophyll) in the ocean. In our work we have monitored the change in chlorophyll content obtained from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on board Terra/Aqua satellites from 2000-2009 over selected pilot areas. Moreover, we have used the Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport (GOCART) NASA chemical model to simulate sulfate, dust, black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC), and sea-salt aerosols content over the urban centers close to the areas where chlorophyll content is showing a significant decline. These parameters would reflect the natural versus anthropogenic origin of the aerosols falling over ocean waters. We expect to observe an overall decrease in chlorophyll content on the surface of the ocean. Hence, our findings may suggest that the effects of falling air pollutants in the ocean will be so detrimental as to gradually cause a decrease in photosynthetic producing material over several years.

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