Data Highlights

Data Highlights

Depth Profiles

Time-Series Plots

Depth Profiles

A depth profile is a graph that shows how a certain property of the water changes with depth. For instance, a depth profile of sea water temperature shows how that property changes from the sea surface to the sea floor. Depth profiles are usually drawn with the depth along the vertical axis (y-axis). The sea surface (0 meters) is plotted at the top of the y axis, and the deepest water (e.g., 4500 meters) at the bottom. The vertical axis is typically on the left side of the graph. The horizontal axis (x-axis) shows the range of values of the property being graphed. The x axis is usually located on the top of the graph, with higher values to the right. In a temperature depth profile, the units on the x axis show sea water temperature in degrees Celsius. Individual points on a depth profile provide two pieces of information: the depth of the water, and the value of the property being examined.

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Time Series Contour Plots

A time series is a graph that shows how ocean-water properties change through time. For instance, a monthly time series of sea surface temperature would show the temperature of the sea water during each month of the year.  When plotted with depth, the result is a time-series contour plot like the ones shown below:

tempandmld2 

no3po4 

Ocean temperature at BATS changes both with time and depth.   In the winter, storms help mix deep, cold water (blues) to the surface (the white line shows the depth of winter mixing).  This water is then warmed by the sun, and forms a very "stable" warm water layer (yellows and reds) at the surface.  As you can see, the difference in temperature in the surface waters ranges from 18 to 29 degrees Celsius.

Nitrate and Phosphate are two essential nutrients for plant growth in the sea.  At BATS, concentrations of these two nutrients are generally low.  Plants take up nutrients in the surface waters, so that they are almost undectable.  However, in winter, storms mix deep, cold, nutrient rich water into the surface waters.  This can be seen well in the nitrate graph.

chlapp 

bact 

Primary production is the rate of plant photosynthesis.  At BATS, primary production tends to be highest in the springtime when there are nutrients present in the surface waters from winter mixing, and increased day length and strength of sunlight.  Just as wildflowers bloom every spring in the mountains on land, there is a spring bloom of phytoplankton in the sea!  This spring bloom is also reflected in the amount of Chlorophyll a pigments in the water.

Bacteria are the primary decomposers in the sea (on land it is the fungi) and are very important in marine nutrient cycles.  Many bacteria use dissolved organic material to grow.  Much of this is produced by phytoplankton in the surface waters.  Thus we tend to get higher numbers of bacteria where there are more plants.