Site8: Plumes and Blooms, Southern California
Coastal waters offshore of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles
The Plumes & Blooms region covers the waters offshore of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, encompassing the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Each year, winter rains wash sand, mud and other terrestrial debris into the Santa Barbara Channel. Then, during the spring and summer, phytoplankton populations increase dramatically and ultimately provide the primary energy source for the entire marine food web. These alternating patterns of brown terrestrial ‘plumes’ and green algal ‘blooms’ prove a diverse test region for ocean colour algorithms. The region has been intensively monitored with a range of physical, biological and optical measurements since 1996.