Two drifting paths of Sargassum bloom in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea during 2019−2020
Abstract: The macroalgal blooms of floating brown algae Sargassum horneri are increasing in the Yellow and East China Seas during the past few years. However, the annual pattern of Sargassum bloom is not well characterized. To study the developing pattern and explore the impacts from hydro-meteorologic environment, high resolution satellite imageries were used to monitor the distribution, coverage and drifting of the pelagic Sargassum rafts in the Yellow and East China Seas from September 2019 to August 2020. Sargassum blooms were detected from October 2019 to June 2020 and presented two successive drifting paths that both initiated from around 37°N. The first path spanned smaller spatial scale and shorter period, starting with a bloom of 3 km2 distribution area near the eastern tip of Shandong Peninsular in late October 2019 and drifted southwards, hit the Pyropia aquaculture area in early January 2020, then vanished in the northwest of East China Sea (ca. 32°N) around end of January. The second path began with a large distribution area of 23 000 km2 east of 123°E in late January 2020, firstly moved southwards in the central Yellow and northern East China Seas (north of 29°N) till late April, then turned northwards with monsoon wind and vanished in mid-June. The mean sea surface temperature of 8°C to 20°C in the Sargassum bloom areas corresponded to in situ observed temperature range for vegetative growth and floating of S. horneri. The surface temperature higher than 22°C in July-September prohibits Sargassum blooming or completing life cycle. The results provide insights to the future management of Sargassum blooms. Further studies are needed to validate the pattern and source of annual Sargassum bloom in the Yellow and East China Seas.
Figure 1. The bi-macroalgal bloom in the Yellow Sea on June7th, 2020. (a) Area covered by the satellite image analysis in the current study. ★recorded natural distribution of benthic Sargassum horneri in Chinese and Korean waters (Tseng, 1983; Hu et al., 2011; Byeon et al., 2019), □ location of panel b and c; (b) and (c) RED-GREEN-BLUE and NIR-RED-GREEN image from Sentinel-2 satellite; (d) and (e)Field validation of green tide caused by Ulva prolifera and bloom caused Sargassum horneri from June 7th to 10th 2020, respectively; (f) and (g): Reflectance spectrum of Ulva prolifera and Sargassum horneri from Sentinel-2 MultiSpectral Instrument (solid line with dots) and laboratory measurements (dashed line).
Figure 3. The distribution area of floating Sargassum (a) from October 2019 to January 2020; (b) from January to April and (c) from April to June 2020; (d) two drifting paths of floating Sargassum in the Yellow and East China Seas. The distribution area on October 21st 2019 is indicated by black arrow in (a). Red and black dots indicate the centroids of distribution area on each date (in YYYYMMDD format). The distribution of green tide caused by Ulva prolifera was also included in (c).
Table 1. Sensor characteristics of Sentinel-2, Gaofen-1/6 and Haiyang 1C
Satellite Sensor Sentinel-2 Multispectral Instrument Gaofen-1/6 Wide-Field-View Haiyang 1C Coastal Zone Imager Blue-Green-Red-Near Infrared Band 2-3-4-8 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 Resolution (m) 10 16 50 Swath (km) 290 800 950 Revisit cycle (days) 5 4 3 Data provider European Space Agency China Centre for Resources Satellite Data and Application China National Satellite Ocean Application Service
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