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The effect of Santa Ana winds on bio-optical properties (absorption coefficients of particles, detritus and phytoplankton) off Baja California (Mexico) was evaluated using data obtained during four cruises in January, April, August and October 1999. Meteorological data from a station at Todos Santos Bay and satellite-derived wind data indicated three Santa Ana events during October 1999, with low relative humidity, high air temperature and persistent ENE winds. The absorption coefficient of detritus (adT) in surface samples was ten-fold higher in October because of the inorganic material wind-driven by the Santa Ana events that occurred from 9 to 11 and from 17 to 20 October, 1999. The absorption coefficients of particles (ap) and phytoplankton (aɸ) in the euphotic zone were higher in the April survey as a result of higher phytoplankton abundance. The ap, a and Kd values in the euphotic zone were fitted to chlorophyll using a power function, with an explained variance of 37%, 72% and 16%, respectively. On excluding the October adT surface values, chlorophyll explained 82% of the changes in the absorption coefficients (ap and aɸ), and 87% of the Kd variability. Approximately 80% of the chlorophyll concentration can be explained by the water column spectral reflectance relationship: Rrs(443)/Rrs(555). According to our results, regional chlorophyll estimates from water column bio-optical information were not greatly affected by wind-borne dust transported during the October 1999 Santa Ana events.
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