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The blooms of Noctiluca in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea have been intensifying in recent years, posing now a threat to regional fisheries and the long-term health of an ecosystem supporting a coastal population of nearly 120 million people. We present the results of a local-scale data analysis to investigate the onset and patterns of the Noctiluca blooms, which form annually during the winter monsoon in the Gulf of Oman and in the Arabian Sea. Our approach combines methods in physical and biological oceanography with machine learning techniques. In particular, we present a robust algorithm, the variable-length Linear Dynamic Systems (vLDS) model, that extracts the causal factors and latent dynamics at the local-scale along each individual drifter trajectory, and demonstrate its effectiveness by using it to generate predictive plots for all variables and test macroscopic scientific hypotheses. The vLDS model is a new algorithm specifically designed to analyze the irregular dataset from surface velocity drifters, in which the multivariate time series trajectories are having variable or unequal lengths. The test results provide local-scale statistical evidence to support and check the macroscopic physical and biological Oceanography hypotheses on the Noctiluca blooms; it also helps identify complementary local trajectory-scale dynamics that might not be visible or discoverable at the macroscopic scale. The vLDS model also exhibits a generalization capability (as a machine learning methodology) to investigate important causal factors and hidden dynamics associated with ocean biogeochemical processes and phenomena at the population-level and local trajectory-scale.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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