Rain-derived particles and CDOM distribution along the East coast of New Caledonia

Abstract : Shortly after strong rains or tropical storms, chlorophyll-a concentration (Chla), turbidity, and colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in the lagoon of New Caledonia may be tripled. This effect is visible as far as 50 km offshore. The Eastern Coast of New Caledonia is more impacted than the Western Coast because of its geomorphological structure. Higher frequency and intensity of the rains, and the dominance of highly erosive lateritic formations resulted from deep weathering of ultramafic rocks. At the deeper parts of the lagoon (> 20 m), increases of Chla, turbidity, and CDOM absorption can be detected by satellite imagery with their plumes extending off shore as a result of wind-driven circulation in the lagoon. Such increases agree with the oceanographic measurements of Chla, absorption, backscattering, turbidity and CDOM during extensive cruises. Satellite and in situ measurements allow tracing of particulates and dissolved matter in lagoon waters and up to the coral barrier reefs. The largest particles settle at a short distance from the coast influencing the sediments not far from the river outflows. Fine particles (< 10 µm), colloids and/or CDOM are exported to reefs where they can be beneficial through protection from high UV illumination (colloids) and feeding of the corals (CDOM). Phytoplankton and associated detritus, when not dominated by toxic filamentous cyanobacteria, can also feed coral reefs. Finally, the export of fine particles associated with colloids and/or CDOM can also contribute to the distribution of trace metals to the barrier reefs of the East Coast and offshore. The question whether this input of trace metals has an overall positive or negative effect on the coral reefs is still under debate.
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Cecile Dupouy, Guillaume Wattelez, Jérôme Lefèvre, Farid Juillot, Rémi Andréoli, et al.. Rain-derived particles and CDOM distribution along the East coast of New Caledonia. Remote Sensing of the Open and Coastal Ocean and Inland Waters, Sep 2018, Honolulu, United States. pp.1-11, ⟨10.1117/12.2501807⟩. ⟨hal-02005329⟩



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