Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Review article
21 Aug 2014
Review article |  | 21 Aug 2014

Global open-ocean biomes: mean and temporal variability

A. R. Fay and G. A. McKinley

Abstract. Large-scale studies of ocean biogeochemistry and carbon cycling have often partitioned the ocean into regions along lines of latitude and longitude despite the fact that spatially more complex boundaries would be closer to the true biogeography of the ocean. Herein, we define 17 open-ocean biomes classified from four observational data sets: sea surface temperature (SST), spring/summer chlorophyll a concentrations (Chl a), ice fraction, and maximum mixed layer depth (maxMLD) on a 1° × 1° grid (available at doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.828650). By considering interannual variability for each input, we create dynamic ocean biome boundaries that shift annually between 1998 and 2010. Additionally we create a core biome map, which includes only the grid cells that do not change biome assignment across the 13 years of the time-varying biomes. These biomes can be used in future studies to distinguish large-scale ocean regions based on biogeochemical function.