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Satellite indicators of phytoplankton and ocean surface temperature for New Zealand

Publication date:  October 2019
Publication reference number:  CR 387

This report updates previously published data on chlorophyll-a and sea-surface temperature from oceanic sites around New Zealand. It provides new coastal chlorophyll-a and sea-surface temperature analyses on trends within New Zealand’s territorial waters. 

The new coastal analysis provides sea-surface temperature and chlorophyll-a data within New Zealand’s territorial seas (within 12 nautical miles of the coast) over periods of 1981 to 2017 (sea-surface temperature) and 2002 to 2018 (chlorophyll-a).

Changes from previously published data include the addition of coastal (territorial sea) analysis to the previous ocean (EEZ) analysis. Updates to the ocean analysis include:

  • extending the time series of chlorophyll-a by 28 months (1997–2018)
  • using new versions of SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua satellite data
  • analysing trends in sea-surface temperature using global “optimum interpolated analysis method” data (1981–2018)
  • correlation analysis between monthly anomalies in sea-surface temperature and chlorophyll-a to investigate reasons for changes to ocean productivity.

Data sets

There are two datasets for this report: 
1.    For phytoplankton/primary productivity: Productivity and trophic index 
2.    For ocean surface temperature: Sea level, temperature and circulation