Scientia Marina, Vol 75, No 4 (2011)

Oceanic and atmospheric patterns during spawning periods prior to extreme catches of the Brazilian sardine (Sardinella brasiliensis) in the southwest Atlantic

Helena Cachanhuk Soares
Center for Weather Forecast and Climate Studies (CPTEC) - Remote Sensing Department (DSR), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil

Luciano Ponzi Pezzi
Center for Weather Forecast and Climate Studies (CPTEC) - Remote Sensing Department (DSR), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil

Douglas Francisco Marcolino Gherardi
Remote Sensing Department (DSR), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil

Eduardo Tavares Paes
Instituto Socioambiental e dos Recursos Hídricos (ISARH). Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia (UFRA), Brazil


Relative maxima and minima of landings of Brazilian sardine captured in the Southeast Brazil Bight (SBB) were compared with oceanic and atmospheric composites relative to the spawning period in December and January, prior to these landings. Atmospheric and oceanic variables such as wind stress, Ekman transport, mixing index, sea surface temperature (SST), precipitation, outgoing long wave radiation and geopotential height were analyzed, revealing distinct climatological patterns in the SBB for these extreme catches that have not been described before. The system could be characterized by cooler SST composite anomaly (SSTA) along the SBB as a response to increased cloud cover and reduced incidence of short-wave radiation, predominating one year before the Brazilian sardine catch maxima. This system can take on a different configuration in which positive SSTA condition in the SBB is associated with a less intense South Atlantic Convergence Zone displaced southwards one year before the period of minimum catch. Our results indicate that the spatial structure of the spawning habitat is influenced by specific ocean-atmosphere interactions rather than simply resulting from the choice of a stable environment. This climatic constraint strongly affects the interannual variability of the Brazilian sardine production.


Brazilian sardine; southwest Atlantic climate; air-sea interaction; South Atlantic Convergence Zone; sea surface temperature; Southeast Brazil Bight

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